Sweeping the Shelves #12

Howdy folks! Welcome to another installment of Sweeping The Shelves, the (usually) weekly blog post where I attempt to persuade myself to part with a few of my beloved TBRs.

Last week we had a big snow storm and I wasn’t able to get to the StS. 😦 Next week, I will be at Niagara Falls (yea!), so I probably won’t post one then either. So I figured, I’d better at least get one done today! Let’s get started…

The Alienist (Caleb Carr)

alienistDescription from GoodreadsThe year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Final Verdict: Someone in the reviews described this novel as “blending a Sherlock Holmes type investigator and a Hannibal Lector/Jeffrey Dahmer like serial killer”. Sounds intriguing… — KEEP

Gorgon: The Monsters that Ruled the Planet Before Dinosaurs and How They Died in the Greatest Catastrophe in Earth’s History (Peter Ward)

gorgonDescription from GoodreadsBased on more than a decade’s research in South Africa’s Karoo Desert, this remarkable journey of discovery and real-life adventure deep into Earth’s history is offered by a renowned scientist.

Final Verdict: Heck of a title, considering the wimpy description. I’ve had this book with me for over 10 years and still haven’t read it. Reviews on Goodreads seem to be pretty mixed, but I don’t know that I can part with it after so long without at least attempting to read it! It’s also pretty short, so I guess I can save it for when I’m on a non-fiction kick. — KEEP

Ruins of Gorlan – Rangers Apprentice #1 (John Flanagan)

rangersapprentice

Description from Goodreads: They have always scared him in the past — the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied…

Final Verdict: Hm, I guess I can understand why I bought this one, especially if I was on a Middle Grade book kick at the time; it does sound kind of interesting. But I’m just not feeling it now. Besides, my library has pretty much this entire series. — DONATE

Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen)

waterforelephantsDescription from GoodreadsWhen Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her. 

Final Verdict: …this is a romance book isn’t it. Why did I buy this one? Maybe I was curious about the elephant? I dunno. — DONATE

The Winter People (Jennifer McMahon)

winterpeopleDescription from GoodreadsWest Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that has weighty consequences when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished. In her search for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked into the historical mystery, she discovers that she’s not the only person looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

Final Verdict: Oooo….. — KEEP


Today’s Count: Keep = 3, Donate = 2

Overall Count: Keep = 37, Donate = 23

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Sweeping the Shelves #11

Hello all! Welcome to the 11th installment of Sweeping the Shelves; the weekly blog where I attempt to diminish my ever growing pile of TBRs. I’m running a bit late with this week’s post, but I didn’t forget! 🙂

Alexandria – Marcus Didius Falco #19 (Lindsey Davis)

AlexandriaDescription from Goodreads: In first century A.D. Rome, during the reign of Vespasian, Marcus Didius Falco works as a private “informer,” often for the emperor, ferreting out hidden truths and bringing villains to ground. But even informers take vacations with their wives, so in A.D. 77, Falco and his wife, Helena Justina, with others in tow, travel to Alexandria, Egypt. But they aren’t there long before Falco finds himself in the midst of nefarious doings—when the Librarian of the great library is found dead, under suspicious circumstances. Falco quickly finds himself on the trail of dodgy doings, malfeasance, deadly professional rivalry, more bodies and the lowest of the low—book thieves! As the bodies pile up, it’s up to Falco to untangle this horrible mess and restore order to a disordered universe.

Final Verdict: Ok, so I accidentally bought the 19th book in this series. Oops! I discovered the mistake pretty quickly, though, and bought Book 1 to read first. I liked it decent enough, but I think I need to be realistic about the fact that I will likely never read all the way up to the 19th book, lol! — DONATE

The Glittering World (Robert Levy)

glitteringworldDescription from GoodreadsWhen up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Though he had no recollection of the event, as a young boy Blue and another child went missing for weeks in the idyllic, mysterious woods of Starling Cove. Soon thereafter, his mother suddenly fled with him to America, their homeland left behind.

But then Blue begins to remember. And once the shocking truth starts bleeding back into his life, his closest friends—Elisa, his former partner in crime; her stalwart husband, Jason; and Gabe, Blue’s young and admiring co-worker—must unravel the secrets of Starling Cove and the artists’ colony it once harbored. All four will face their troubled pasts, their most private demons, and a mysterious race of beings that inhabits the land, spoken of by the locals only as the Other Kind…

Final Verdict: Oh…that is an intriguing description. Now I remember why I bought this one at full cover price. — KEEP

The Sword of Summer – Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1 (Rick Riordan)

magnuschaseDescription from Goodreads: Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. 
The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die…

Final Verdict: Yeah, this one isn’t even in question. I already have it on my list for my reading challenge this year. I LOVE Rick Riordan and would probably never get rid of one of his books without at least reading it first. 🙂 — KEEP

Reliquary – Pendergast #2 (Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child)

reliquaryDescription from GoodreadsHidden deep beneath Manhattan lies a warren of tunnels, sewers, and galleries, mostly forgotten by those who walk the streets above. There lies the ultimate secret of the Museum Beast. When two grotesquely deformed skeletons are found deep in the mud off the Manhattan shoreline, museum curator Margo Green is called in to aid the investigation. Margo must once again team up with police lieutenant D’Agosta and FBI agent Pendergast, as well as the brilliant Dr. Frock, to try and solve the puzzle. The trail soon leads deep underground, where they will face the awakening of a slumbering nightmare.

Final Verdict: I actually do also have the first book in this series and the description sounds really interesting, so I think I’ll hang on to them for a while. — KEEP

Wild Ride (Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer)

wildrideDescription from Goodreads: Mary Alice Brannigan doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Nor does she expect to find that Dreamland, the decaying amusement park she’s been hired to restore, is a prison for the five Untouchables, the most powerful demons in the history of the world. Plus, there’s a guy she’s falling hard for—and there’s something about him that’s not quite right. 

But rocky romances and demented demons aren’t the only problems in Dreamland: Mab’s also coping with a crooked politician, a supernatural raven, a secret government agency, an inexperienced sorceress, an unsettling inheritance, and some mind-boggling revelations from her past. As her personal demons wreck her newfound relationship and real demons wreck the park, Mab faces down immortal evil and discovers what everybody who’s ever been to an amusement park knows: The end of the ride is always the wildest.

Final Verdict: I dunno about the rocky romance part, but the rest sounds really cool! I think I’ll give it a go. — KEEP


Today’s Count: Keep = 4, Donate = 1 (Oops. 😉 )

Overall Count: Keep = 34, Donate = 21

Sweeping the Shelves #10

Look! I made it to #10! 😀

For you new folks, Sweeping the Shelves is a weekly blog in which I pick 5 of my innumerable real-life TBRs and decide whether I want to keep them or donate them.

A Conspiracy of Alchemists – The Chronicles of Light & Shadow #1 (Liesel Schwarz)

conspiracyofalchemistsDescription from GoodreadsIt is 1903, and the world is divided between light and shadow. On the side of light is a wondrous science that has transformed everyday life by harnessing magical energies to ingenious new technologies. But each advance of science has come at the expense of shadow—the traditional realm of the supernatural. Now two ancient powers are preparing to strike back. Blood-sucking immortal Nightwalkers and their spellcasting Alchemist allies have a plan to cover the whole world in shadow. All they require is the sacrifice of a certain young woman whose past conceals a dangerous secret. But when they come after Elle, they get more than they bargained for. This enterprising young woman, the daughter of a scientific genius, has reserves of bravery and determination that even she scarcely suspects. Now she is about to meet her match in more ways than one: a handsome yet infuriating Warlock named Hugh Marsh, whose agenda is as suspect as his charms are annoyingly irresistible. 

Final Verdict: I love me some steampunk, but why does the female protagonist ALWAYS have to run into an “annoyingly irresistible” foe? I mean, really? — DONATE

The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion – Haunted Bookshop Mystery #5 (Alice Kimberly)

ghostandthehauntedmansionDescription from Goodreads: Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure didn’t believe in ghosts–until she met the spirit of hard-boiled 1940s detective Jack Shepard. And when Pen’s friend and mailman, Seymour Tarnish, gets into deep trouble, Pen not only believes in her ghost–she also thinks he can help…An elderly lady of leisure has been found dead on posh Larchmont Avenue, her will recently, and suspiciously, revised to name Seymour as heir to her mansion. Just as eyes turn to him as the murderer–and Seymour gets busy settling into his ritzy digs–the mansion’s ghosts begin plaguing him. So he hires a team of parapsychologists to exorcise all the spirits from the town of Quindicott–and that includes Jack Shepard. Now Pen must act fast–because losing Jack scares Pen more than rattling chains and cold spots…

Final Verdict: Well, this sounds cute, but Book #5? How did that happen? ::checks library:: Oo, looks like my library has the first book in the series. Maybe I’ll start there instead. 😉 — DONATE

On Stranger Tides (Tim Powers)

strangertidesDescription from GoodreadsAboard the Vociferous Carmichael, puppeteer John Chandagnac is sailing toward Jamaica to claim his stolen birthright from an unscrupulous uncle, when the vessel is captured . . . by pirates! Offered a choice by Captain Phil Davies to join their seafaring band or die, Chandagnac assumes the name John Shandy and a new life as a brigand. But more than swashbuckling sea battles and fabulous plunder await the novice buccaneer on the roiling Caribbean waters–for treachery and powerful vodun sorcery are coins of the realm in this dark new world. And for the love of beautiful, magically imperiled Beth Hurwood, Shandy will set sail on even stranger tides, following the savage, ghost-infested pirate king, Blackbeard, and a motley crew of the living and the dead to the cursed nightmare banks of the fabled Fountain of Youth.

Final Verdict: Huh, sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it? Looks like Disney snagged some plot points for the 4th Pirates movie from this book. While I did enjoy the movie, the book sounds way more interesting AND it would fit one of my categories for my reading challenge. — KEEP

Shakespeare’s Kitchen (Lore Segal)

shakespeareskitchenDescription from GoodreadsIlka Weisz has accepted a teaching position at the Concordance Institute, a think tank in Connecticut, reluctantly leaving her New York circle of friends. After the comedy of her struggle to meet new people, Ilka comes to embrace, and be embraced by, a new set of acquaintances, including the institute’s director, Leslie Shakespeare, and his wife, Eliza. Through a series of memorable dinner parties, picnics, and Sunday brunches, Segal evokes the subtle drama and humor of the outsider’s loneliness, the comfort and charm of familiar companionship, the bliss of being in love, and the strangeness of our behavior in the face of other people’s deaths.

Final Verdict: Hmm, I’m torn. I’ve been really into general fiction lately, but I know that phase will likely come to an end soon and I don’t know if I care enough about this one to squeeze it in before hand. — DONATE

The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins)

womaninwhite

Description from Goodreads: The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

Final Verdict: Sounds creepy! I remember, I stumbled on this one while looking for The Moonstone and it intrigued me. It still does. I have the Kindle version too, but there’s just something about holding the book in your hands that draws you more into the story and it sounds like I’ll want to be fully invested in this one. — KEEP


Today’s Count: Keep = 2, Donate = 3

Overall Count: Keep = 30, Donate = 20

Sweeping the Shelves #9

Howdy! Welcome to another installment of Sweeping the Shelves; the weekly blog where I try to convince myself to share my abundance of TBRs with other people instead of hoarding them all for myself. 😉

The Accidental Hero – Jack Blank Adventure #1 (Matt Myklusch)

accidentalheroDescription from GoodreadsAll Jack Blank knows is his bleak, dreary life at St. Barnaby’s Home for the Hopeless, Abandoned, Forgotten, and Lost, an orphanage that sinks further into the swampland of New Jersey with each passing year. His aptitude tests predict that he will spend a long, unhappy career as a toilet brush cleaner. His only chance at escape comes through the comic books donated years ago to the orphanage that he secretly reads in the dark corners of the library. 

Everything changes one icy gray morning when Jack receives two visitors that alter his life forever. The first is a deadly robot straight out of one of his comic books that tries its best to blow him up. The second is an emissary from a secret country called the Imagine Nation, an astonishing place where all the fantastic and unbelievable things in our world originate — including Jack. Jack soon discovers that he has an amazing ability — one that could make him the savior of the Imagine Nation and the world beyond, or the biggest threat they’ve ever faced.

Final Verdict: Well, this one sounded kind of interesting…until I read a comment in one of the reviews that contained several HUGE spoilers for the series. I LOATHE SPOILERS. I don’t know if I’d even call it a pet peeve so much as possessing an unnatural, seething hatred people who spoil books/movies. Now I don’t know if I even want to bother reading this one. — DONATE

Note to everyone who reads my blog:

vI-DU0t0

😡 DON’T SPOIL BOOKS!!!!! 😡

Encounters of Sherlock Holmes (edited by George Mann)

encountersofSHDescription from GoodreadsA brand-new collection of Sherlock Holmes stories from a variety of exciting voices in modern horror and steampunk, including James Lovegrove, Justin Richards, Paul Magrs, Guy Adams and Mark Hodder. Edited by respected anthologist George Mann, and including a story by Mann himself.

Final Verdict: Anyone who knows me knows I have a special fondness for Sherlock Holmes and, as such, would never be able to bring myself to get rid of a Sherlock book without at least attempting to read it. — KEEP

The Ghost Walker – Wind River Reservation #2 (Margaret Coel)

ghostwalkerDescription from Goodreads: Father John O’Malley comes across the corpse lying in a ditch beside the highway. When he returns with the police, it is gone. The Arapahos of the Wind River Reservation speak of Ghost Walkerstormented souls caught between the earth and the spirit world, who are capable of anything. Then, within days, a young man disappears from the Reservation without a trace. A young woman is found brutally murdered. And as Father John and Arapaho lawyer Vicky Holden investigate these crimes, someoneor somethingbegins following them. Together, Vicky and Father John must draw upon ancient Arapaho traditions to stop a killer, explain the inexplicable, and put a ghost to rest…

Final Verdict: Ooo, this one sounds interesting! Too bad it’s the second in the series. ::checks library:: Darn, they don’t have the first one. ::checks Amazon:: Wait! I can get the first one for $2? Score! — KEEP

Psych: Mind-Altering Murder – Psych #5 (William Rabkin)

psych5Description from GoodreadsWhen Shawn’s partner Gus decides he doesn’t want to be a detective anymore and gets a real job, Shawn wonders: Is this the end of Psych? Or is it the end of Gus? After a fellow executive at Benson Pharmaceuticals turns up dead, Gus realizes he needs Shawn more than ever to solve the murder before he’s forced to take an early-and permanent-retirement.

Final Verdict: I LOVE the Psych tv series. I’m not quite as fond of the books. To be fair, turning Psych into a novel would be pretty hard (how do you do Shawn-vision on paper?), but these stories don’t seem to grab me the same way the show (and some of the fanfic) does. I’ve been debating donating this series (I own 4 of them) for a while now, so maybe I should just go ahead and do it. 😦 — DONATE

Wildwood – Wildwood Chronicles #1 (Colin Meloy)

wildwoodDescription from Goodreads: In Wildwood, Prue and her friend Curtis uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

Final Verdict: I bought this one for my reading challenge a couple of years ago and just never got around to it, but it still sounds pretty cool. The reviews are mixed, though. Hm. ::checks library:: It looks like my library doesn’t have a copy, so I guess I’ll keep it for now and if I do get around to reading it, I can donate it to the library if I don’t like it. 🙂 — KEEP


Today’s Count: Keep = 3 (plus the first in that series I just bought…oops?), Donate = 2 (plus the other 3 Psych books…whew, that makes up for adding one, right?….Right?!?)

Overall Count: Keep = 28, Donate = 17

Sweeping the Shelves #8

Hey all! Well, I’m doing a good job so far in keeping this going. Let’s see if I can continue it until we’ve finished my entire TBR list!

For those of you who are new, Sweeping the Shelves is a weekly post in which I pick 5 of the books that I own but haven’t read and try to decide what to keep and what to donate.

Slathbog’s Gold – Adventurer’s Wanted #1 (M.L. Forman)

slathbogDescription from Goodreads: The sign is small, tucked into the corner of Mr. Clutter’s bookshop window: “Adventurers Wanted. Apply Within.” No one but fifteen-year-old Alex Taylor even seems to notice it is there. And for Alex, who has wished for a change in his life, it is an irresistible invitation. Upon entering Mr. Clutter’s shop, Alex is swept away on an incredible adventure to a faraway land filled with heroic warriors, mysterious elves, and hard-working dwarves. Alex becomes the eighth man in a band of adventurers seeking the lair of Slathbog the Red – and evil dragon with a legendary treasure. Along the way, Alex and his new friends must battle dangerous trolls and bandits, face undead wraiths, and seek the wisdom of the Oracle in her White Tower. Alex’s adventure takes him to distant and exotic lands where he learns about courage, integrity, honor, and, most importantly, friendship.

Final Verdict: Well, this one sounds fun! I like a good “get lost in an adventure” story and, at this reading level, you don’t usually have to worry about anything being really complicated or romance-driven. — KEEP

Case Histories: A Novel – Jackson Brodie #1 (Kate Atkinson)

casehistoriesDescription from Goodreads: Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night. 

Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac’s apparently random attack. 

Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making – with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband – until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge…

Final Verdict: I dunno, this one doesn’t really give much in the way of a description. And the very first review on Goodreads is from someone who loves the author from previous works, but only gave this one 2 stars. Add to that the fact that I don’t even remember buying this one… — DONATE

Hooked on Murder – Crochet Mystery #1 (Betty Hechtman)

hookedonmurderDescription from GoodreadsMolly Pink is about to discover the joys of crochet. It’s a relaxing escape from her hectic life as a bookstore event manager . . . and from the stress of being Tarzana, California’s latest murder suspect.

For Molly, the weekly crochet group at Shedd & Royal Books and More was just another event to manage. Then she stumbled across the body of group leader Ellen Sheridan. Her complicated past with Ellen has made her a prime suspect, and after being cuffed and questioned, she could use a little diversion. Never mind that she doesn’t know how to crochet. Granny squares don’t look that hard to make.

But while Molly’s fending off a detective with a grudge and navigating crochet group politics, the real killer is at large. And it’s up to Molly to catch the culprit–before she winds up in a tight knot.

Final Verdict: “A tight knot” ::snorts:: Sigh, I’m such a dork. 😉 You guys know my penchant for cozies. I can’t help but love them. AND this one is about crochet, which is one of my hobbies! — KEEP

Four Friends (Robyn Carr)

fourfriendsDescription from GoodreadsGerri can’t decide what’s more devastating: learning her rock-solid marriage has big cracks, or the anger she feels as she tries to repair the damage. Always the anchor for friends and her three angst-ridden teenagers, it’s time to look carefully at herself. The journey for Gerri and her family is more than revealing—it’s transforming.

Andy doesn’t have a great track record with men, and she’s come to believe that for her a lasting love is out of reach. When she finds herself attracted to her down-to-earth, ordinary contractor—a man without any of the qualities that usually appeal to her—she questions everything she thought she wanted in life.

Sonja’s lifelong pursuit of balance is shattered when her husband declares he’s through with her New Age nonsense and walks out. There’s no herbal tonic or cleansing ritual that can restore her serenity—or her sanity. 

Miraculously, it’s BJ, the reserved newcomer to Mill Valley, who steps into their circle and changes everything. The woman with dark secrets opens up to her neighbors, and together they get each other back on track, stronger as individuals and unfaltering as friends.

Final Verdict: Well, this one doesn’t sound like something I’d read AT ALL, does it? And yet…I do really like friendship stories. There really aren’t enough of them in the world (why does everything have to revolve around sex?). I’m gonna extend my boundaries and give this one a try. — KEEP

The Station Master: A Scheduled Death – Grace Marsden #3 (Luisa Beuhler)

stationmasterDescription from Goodreads: The eighth annual Depot Days celebration is drawing large crowds to the quaint old station. The buzz of an auction and the thrill of the win. Eager spectators crane their necks as the last antique trunk gives up its secret…Trouble Death has knocked at Grace Marsden’s door before, but the stakes skyrocket when circumstances cast her husband as the number one suspect in a hit and run. Once again fate sets Grace on a collision course with a determined murderer. Suspicion raises ugly memories and peoples defenses when they realize their close-knit town harbors a killer. Who knows the secret? And who punched a one-way ticket to the end of the line for Grace?

Final Verdict: I…I don’t remember this one at all. You’d think with a cover like that…huh. Oh well, since I’ve already saved one cozy in this round and it’s the 3rd in the series AND doesn’t have very good reviews (she cries all the time? ick), I’m going to pass on this one. — DONATE


Today’s Count: Keep = 3, Donate = 2

Overall Count: Keep = 25, Donate = 15

Sweeping the Shelves #7

Howdy folks! Welcome to the seventh installment of Sweeping the Shelves, the weekly challenge where I try to convince myself that I DON’T NEED ALL THESE BOOKS! 🙂

The Bridge at Ardendale (JW Kent)

bridgeatardendaleDescription from GoodreadsSo, what does a legendary mercenary do when he retires? “He finds him an out of the way place… where they grow good barley and hops. Sets his-self up brewing ale, and mayhap finds a soft, curvy lass or two to keep his bones warm at night….” But when Fergus walked into the Upper Arden Valley he found far more than he had bargained for.

Final Verdict: I’ll be honest, this is one that, based purely on it’s description, I probably would have donated. But it was written by a co-worker, so I have to at least try it. 😉 — KEEP

The Forgotten Garden (Kate Morton)

forgottengardenDescription from GoodreadsCassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident ten years ago, feels like she has lost everything dear to her. But an unexpected and mysterious bequest from Nell turns Cassandra’s life upside down and ends up challenging everything she thought she knew about herself and her family. Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace—the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century—Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past; little knowing that in the process, she will also discover a new life for herself.

Final Verdict: Well, what bibliophile can resist a description like that? — KEEP

Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)

neverwhereDescription from GoodreadsUnder the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks. Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

Final Verdict: I really, really want to read this, I just keep not getting around to it. Ooo, wait…I think…::checks phone::…YES! Mom got me the radio drama version of this for Christmas!!! Bye bye, paperback! — DONATE

People of the Book (Geraldine Brooks)

peopleofthebookDescription from Goodreads: In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding—an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair—she begins to unlock the book’s mysteries. The reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book’s journey from its salvation back to its creation. 

In Bosnia during World War II, a Muslim risks his life to protect it from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of fin-de-siècle Vienna, the book becomes a pawn in the struggle against the city’s rising anti-Semitism. In inquisition-era Venice, a Catholic priest saves it from burning. In Barcelona in 1492, the scribe who wrote the text sees his family destroyed by the agonies of enforced exile. And in Seville in 1480, the reason for the Haggadah’s extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed. Hanna’s investigation unexpectedly plunges her into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics. Her experiences will test her belief in herself and the man she has come to love. 

Final Verdict: Ok, I take back what I said for The Forgotten Garden…what kind of bibliophile can resist a description like THAT? — DEFINITELY KEEP

The Wreckers (Iain Lawrence)

thewreckersDescription from GoodreadsThere was once a village bred by evil. On the barren coast of Cornwall, England, lived a community who prayed for shipwrecks, a community who lured storm-tossed ships to crash upon the sharp rocks of their shore. They fed and clothed themselves with the loot salvaged from the wreckage; dead sailors’ tools and trinkets became decorations for their homes. Most never questioned their murderous way of life. Then, upon that pirates’ shore crashed the ship The Isle of Skye. And the youngest of its crew members, 14-year-old John Spencer, survived the wreck. But would he escape the wreckers? This is his harrowing tale.

Final Verdict: Well, I snagged this one from a library sale to give to my niece and nephew, so I guess that counts as donating it. But I’m gonna read it first! 😉 — DONATE


Today’s Count: Keep = 3, Donate = 2

Overall Count: Keep = 22, Donate = 13

Sweeping the Shelves #6

Welcome on, welcome all, to the sixth installment of my Sweeping the Shelves challenge. The goal? To share my abundance of TBR books with the world instead of hoarding them “just in case I want to read them”.

The Accomplice (Elizabeth Ironside)

theaccompliceDescription from Goodreads: Jean Loftus has lived at Asshe House for more than 40 years. Its tidy contours, the soft colors of the garden, speak to an orderly, gracious life, a supremely English life. But when workmen unearth a skeleton from that garden, the skeletons from Jean’s past begin rising, similarly, to the surface. And the life they speak to – a childhood in Revolutionary Russia, chaotic years as a refugee between the two world wars – was neither orderly nor English. Zita Daunsey, Jean’s neighbor in this cozy Sussex town, would like to help Jean protect her secrets. But this task is made more difficult with the sudden arrival of a mysterious, aggressively inquisitive Russian student. Whose body has been moldering in the garden? What aging sins is Jean so anxious to conceal? And in trying to help the past stay buried, at what point does Zita become an accomplice to it?

Final Verdict: I…I don’t remember this book. At all. Not buying it, not even scanning it into my Libib app for this challenge. It looks REALLY interesting though! I shouldn’t have read the description, now I’m intrigued… — KEEP

Big Stone Gap (Ariana Trigiani)

bigstonegapDescription from GoodreadsNestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the tiny town of Big Stone Gap is home to some of the most charming eccentrics in the state. Ave Maria Mulligan is the town’s self-proclaimed spinster, a thirty-five year old pharmacist with a “mountain girl’s body and a flat behind.” She lives an amiable life with good friends and lots of hobbies until the fateful day in 1978 when she suddenly discovers that she’s not who she always thought she was. Before she can blink, Ave’s fielding marriage proposals, fighting off greedy family members, organizing a celebration for visiting celebrities, and planning the trip of a lifetime-a trip that could change her view of the world and her own place in it forever. 

Final Verdict: Eh, I dunno. This one has pretty good reviews, but I don’t know if it’s really up my alley. Maybe I’ll just watch the movie. (Blasphemy, I know. 😉 ) — DONATE

Flesh and Bone – Body Farm #2 (Jefferson Bass)

fleshandboneDescription from GoodreadsAnthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton founded Tennessee’s world-famous Body Farm—a small piece of land where corpses are left to decay in order to gain important forensic information. Now, in the wake of a shocking crime in nearby Chattanooga, he’s called upon by Jess Carter—the rising star of the state’s medical examiners—to help her unravel a murderous puzzle. But after re-creating the death scene at the Body Farm, Brockton discovers his career, reputation, and life are in dire jeopardy when a second, unexplained corpse appears in the grisly setting.

Accused of a horrific crime—transformed overnight from a respected professor to a hated and feared pariah—Bill Brockton will need every ounce of his formidable forensic skills to escape the ingeniously woven net that’s tightening around him . . . and to prove the seemingly impossible: his own innocence.

Final Verdict: I normally try not to keep books that aren’t the first of the series, but I really like the premise of this one. And it looks like my library has the first novel, so I can try it out and see if I like it. — KEEP (FOR NOW)

One Mountain Away (Emilie Richards)

onemountainawayDescription from GoodreadsWith nothing but brains, ambition and sheer nerve, Charlotte Hale built a career as a tough, savvy real-estate developer. Her reputation is rock solid…but her life is empty. One terrifying day, Charlotte realizes that her friends are as grasping and insincere as she is. Far worse, she’s alienated her family so completely that she’s never held or spoken to her only granddaughter. 

Charlotte vows to make amends, not simply with her considerable wealth, but by offering a hand instead of a handout. Putting in hours and energy instead of putting in an appearance. Opening her home and heart instead of her wallet. With each wrenching, exhilarating, joyful decision, she finds her path to friendship, love and forgiveness—even as she learns what it truly means to build a legacy.

Final Verdict: Aw, this one sounds sweet! And it has amazingly good reviews! I think I’ll keep it. 🙂 — KEEP

The World to Come (Dara Horn)

worldtocomeDescription from Goodreads: A million-dollar Chagall is stolen from a museum during a singles’ cocktail hour. The unlikely thief, former child prodigy Benjamin Ziskind, is convinced that the painting once hung in his parents’ living room. This work of art opens a door through which we discover his family’s startling history–from an orphanage in Soviet Russia where Chagall taught to suburban New Jersey and the jungles of Vietnam.

Final Verdict: Hm. This one seems to be a “love it or hate it” kind of book, according to the Goodreads reviews. But it sounds kind of interesting and my library doesn’t have a copy, so I might keep it for now and give it a try. — KEEP


Today’s Count: Keep = 4, Donate = 1 (oops, lol)

Overall Count: Keep = 19, Donate = 11