Down the TBR Hole #12

New year and time to go through this list again. I am determined to get this shelf down to books I will actually read in the future.

This was originally created by Lost in a Story and seems like a good way to go through some of my TBR on Goodreads and see what is there and what I can get rid of or push me to start reading. 
Links will be  on the titles for the books Goodreads page. (I am going to do ten for this round of this tag).

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time

TBR – #258

Between the Lines – Jodi Picoult– At first glance of the cover I had no idea why I placed this on my list. After reading the summary I know exactly why. The whole idea of having a book boyfriend and then him actually being real and wanting out. I love it and think it would be a sweet and fun read.
Decision: Keep (I have both books in my shelf so I am going to round this up as a keep for both)

Life of Pi- Yann Martel – I have seen this movie and really enjoyed it. I don’t know though if and when I will ever get to the book. I felt like the movie gave a clear story and I don’t know if reading it will add anything. I am going to take it off for now but I do want to read it one day.
Decision: Remove

Bones Omnibus – Mark Wheaton- Something about a dog who takes out demons. But all in one volume? I am not quite sure what this is and how it got on my list.
Decision: Remove

Revolution – Jennifer Donnelly – I like the idea of past and present connecting but honestly I don’t see myself reading this anytime soon. It sounds interesting but not enough to keep on the list.
Decision: Remove

Angelfall – Susan Ee – I love the idea of an angel like apocalypse. I like the idea of angels being good and bad.
Decision: Keep



The Fireman – Joe Hill – I have read two other books by Joe Hill and I really enjoyed them. I really want to get to this one, once I am ready for a scary book.
Decision: Keep

The Invention of Murder: How the Victorian’s Revealed in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime – Judith Flanders – A whole book about how murder led to detective stories and the history behind it all sounds fascinating.
Decision: Keep

A Murder in Time – Julie McElwain – I like the time travel idea but the rest doesn’t sounds that interesting. She time travels and solves a mystery but it doesn’t sound like anything connects.
Decision: Remove

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Mass – This one is everywhere. I have it on my physical shelf and I really want to read it soon. I just need to be in the mood to go through what is out of the series.
Decision: Keep

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Lani Taylor – Another one I have head a ton about. I really want to get to it too but again need to be ready to dive into a full series.
Decision: Keep

Total:
Keep:6
Remove: 4
TBR-249 (I noticed again that Goodreads had on my TBR list a handful of books that should be on my Read list. I fixed those and thus the number doesn’t quite add up right)

The Unbound – (An Archived Novel) – Victoria Schwab – Review

(This will be a review for a sequel in a series. Spoilers may be present for the first book).

Mackenzie is having trouble sleeping, which is understandable after her fight with Owen. She can’t close her eyes without seeing the man’s twisted smile, hear his grating voice and be stalked by him. But she can’t show anyone that pain. She has to prove to the Archive that she is whole and capable. But that becomes even harder when people begin to go missing around her. Who is out to get her? Is she losing her mind? Can she keep herself and the Archive together or will Owen win in the end?


I was worried about reading this series at first. I know that Schwab can’t currently write anymore books for this series, due to her contact and current publisher. She has talked about this on her Twitter and Instagram before. So I was worried that this was going to end in a cliffhanger and leave me wanting more. In reality it ended with a final moment that left room for more but also was one I can live with being the final end.

As for a sequel this improved so much on the first. It is so hard to write a sequel to a book because you have to live up to the first, keep the story threads moving and not lose speed. Schwab did a great job at this. While the first one was kind of predictable this one was anything but. I didn’t see so much of this coming and wanted to keep reading in order to know where the whole story was going. It took the first one and expanded the characters, the world while also centering on a common theme and picking up from the first book.

I thought the best part of this book as how it dealt with trauma and how people are forced to handle what has happened to them. Too many times we try to force people to handle trauma how we think it is best for them. We try to help but we are trying to make people be okay too fast. Usually people are given small finite amount of time to be affected then they are forced to pretend they are okay. If they let it go onto long they are seen as too damaged and thus need to be removed from society or their lives.

This was explored well because we see Mackenzie trying to hold herself together. In the book we are only about a month out from the incidents in the first book. She was forced to fight a man she thought was her friend, throw him into a void of nothinginess, learned secrets were being hid from her and watched a boy she cared about being nearly fatally stabbed. Anyone would have severe PTSD after that. But she is told she has to show she is capable. She can be strong and manage her life and job.

In reality she is breaking and she knows it but she can’t tell anyone. She has to clear her list, keep her mask on for her family and deal with the reality of her nightmares in order to keep her job as Keeper. She has to pretend she is okay when in reality she is anything but. The way this was all handled was done really well, I thought. We see her pain, feel her fright and understand her choices. She is one of those characters I had no trouble emphasizing with. I wanted her to be able to break and not worry about losing everything in the process.

I liked the additional characters in this book too. I thought Cash was a nice addition to the cast and Amber had potential. They were every much side characters in this book but I saw where their potential could be.


While I loved most of this book it does use one of my least favorite type of storylines, which I have done a whole post about, so I will keep this brief. Mackenzie keeps too many secrets from Wesley, because she is trying to protect him. I hate that idea. It never works. It only creates confusion, and danger for the other person.

Now this book didn’t use it in a way that angered me too much. I was annoyed for sure but I wasn’t as annoyed as I usually am. I understood her choice. Mackenzie wanted this all to be her fight, wanted to show she was alone capable of taking care of herself.

But Wesley was the one person she could have told. He would not only understand but he could have done so much to help her. He would know how to be separate when necessary. Instead she pushed him away. I thought if she had told him their relationship could have deepened. We also could have explored the idea of having those around you to help yourself heal. I thought we could have seen how important support is to helping someone handle trauma.

I also wished we had gotten a bit more about Wesley in this book. There is so much mystery around him. I would love a book from his POV. I want to know who his family is, what truly happened and why he hides his name. I know that was probably planned for a further book but I would love to have that information.


There was nothing that made me want to stop reading this book. There was nothing I had to try to be okay with to finish. It was fun and exciting and pulled me along the whole time.

I gave this book 4 stars mostly because of the whole secret keeping issue I had. Other than that this is a great sequel and leaves sparks for so much more.


“Maybe I just can’t stand our home-turned-house.” (pg. 15) (I love the way these simple words sum up so much, such a vivid image and idea).

“But the fact is, dreams catch us with our armor off.” (pg. 70)

“It doesn’t all boil down to with or against. Some of us just want to stay alive.” (pg. 98)

“Treat all the bad things like dreams, Kenzie. That way, no matter how scary or dark they get, you just have to survive until you wake up.” (pg. 177)

“We stand out in the minds of others more than in our own.” (pg. 275)

Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Prachett – review

The end of times is on its way. The apocalypse is supposed to be terrifying, the world is ending. What if the end of the world doesn’t go quite as planned? What if the angel and demon in charge of starting the whole thing, make a few mistakes? What if the anti-christ isn’t brought up in a tough and angry home but a quiet suburban family? What if the four horseman decide they are bikers instead? The apocalypse may seem scary but that is only if the people in charge actually know what they are doing.

The characters in this book are what make this one so much fun. This was a reread for me. I read it ages ago and remembered it vaguely. I did remember that I thought it was fun and near the end of the year I needed a fun and quirky book to read.

The angel, Aziraphale, and demon Crowly are my favorite characters in this book. I loved how they played off each other. They are friends, do their jobs because they have too but are super reluctant to end the world. They like Earth and humanity. They enjoy being around people and they don’t want to give any of that up.

They were interesting because they felt like tired office workers to me. They felt like two normal guys who are fed up with their jobs. They stay with their employers out of necessity but they don’t quite agree with everything. They go along because they have to but you can feel their reluctance and avoidance of the issue.

I like that they were close as friends. This way they used each other to vent when necessary was fun. I thought it was an interesting dynamic and I could read an entire book just about the two of them.

The tone of this book was relaxing and enjoyable. Apocalypse books are usually stressful and fill you with fear and trepidation. This one just made you wonder if the end of the world is actually possible. Judging by the random things happening in our world everyday you wonder if these agents are in charge. Constanly messing up, not caring and not wanting to finish out what they started. They all felt human and it felt like anyone I know could have been in this scenario.

The four horsemen characters were interesting as well. They were the ones that felt closest to what we know they are supposed to be. They are menacing but still with a silly, quirky edge to them. You feel their presences but you aren’t scared of them. They are again just doing what they are told but not forcing anything. Just workers showing up but not putting their full effort into their jobs.


I did think the ending was a bit flat. I thought it worked but you are leading up to this huge end and it sort of fizzled out for me. It was a lot more talking then I remembered. I wanted them to be running around trying to stop each others mistakes but instead you get speeches.

The ending worked for the story but it wasn’t what I was expecting or what I remembered. I thought it could have used a bit more punch or a few more laugh moments to get finishing the book with the same tone as it started. You have these fumbling idiots running around the whole time but they all kind of just stand around at the end.

There wasn’t anything that threw me out of the story completely. I stayed in the world and connected to the characters. It was a fun and interesting ride.

I gave this book 4 stars. It would have been a five star if the ending was a bit more involved.

“They’d been brought up to it and weren’t, when you got right down to is, particularly evil. Human beings mostly aren’t. They just get carried away by new ides, like dressing up in jackboots and shooting people, or dressing up in white sheets and lynching people, or dressing up in tie-dye jeans and playing guitars at people. Offer people a new creed with a costume and their hearts and minds will follow.” (pg. 18)

“They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways , and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse.” (pg. 25)

“Hell wasn’t a major reservoir of evil, any more than Heaven, in Crowley’s opinion, was a fountain of goodness; they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game. Where you found the real McCoy, the real grace and the real heart-stopping evil, was right inside the human mind.” (pg. 69)

New Year Book Tag

I wanted to find a fun tag to start the year. I was going to do some type of New Year resolutions or reading plan but I am not very good at those kind of things. I tend to say I am going to do something and it doesn’t always pan out so instead I thought it would be fun to do this tag instead.

I saw it over on Cleopatra Loves Books and in hers she states she thinks it started Bookables a Youtube Channel.

How many books do you plan to read in 2019?
I read about 53 books last year so I am going to go with 50 this year as my Goodreads goal. I think it will be a bit easier to hit for me this year because in my new house I have a space that I created a library in and will have a separate table for dinner where I can read while eating. We will see how it goes.

Name five books you didn’t get to read in 2018 and want to make a priority in 2019?
This is an interesting one. I tend to be a mood reader, so I do read what I want when I can. Though there are a few that I bought that are on my TBR that I would like to get to this year.
Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi
City of Ghosts – Victoria Schwab
Carry On – Rainbow Rowell
Dry – Neal Shusterman
(Don’t) Call me Crazy – Various Authors (I have started this one and read it between books but I definitely want to finish it soon)

Name a genre you want to read more of in 2019?
I would like to read either more historical fiction or more nonfiction. I would like to read a bit more about little known historical events or aspects of major events we aren’t taught. I feel like there is so much history that I am unaware of.

Three non-book related goals of 2019?
As I said I’m not big on resolutions but I do want to make sure to increase my writing habits. I tend to write sporadically right now but I now have an office so hopefully that will help. I am also taking a class throughout January about developing a writing habit.
I also want to get more involved with the writing/reading community in my city.

What is a book you have had forever that you still need to read?
Intersting question. I do have a huge physical TBR pile but I know that on it is The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury. I have had it a long time and really do need to get around to reading it.

One word you are hoping 2019 will be?
Exciting. 2018 wasn’t bad for me last year and I think there is real potential for my life to continue to get more exciting for this point forward.

I tag any one who needs a fun way to bring in 2019.

The Archived – Victoria Schwab – Review

The dead are not gone forever. When you die your body and all your memories are preserved in the Archive. There you are stacked on shelves, able to leave a lasting impression on the world. Mackenzie is a Keeper, charged with keeping Histories from escaping. An easier said then done job when the Archive begins to break down and her world is upended. Can she stop those responsible or will time run out and will she be added to the shelves?

I misunderstood what this book was about when I read the summary and read other reviews. I have seen people praising this book and I loved Victoria Schwab so I knew I had to read this one.

I thought that the idea was that people’s consciousness were preserved in literal books. Instead their bodies are recreated in this Archive and that is where their memories are stored. I really liked the concept. I liked the idea that when you die you are not dead and gone forever. I liked the idea that there is a literal library of people and their histories. Each person is important because of the life they have lived and the things they have learned throughout that life. I loved the idea of preserving everyone.

I thought the pacing of this story as great as well. It didn’t drag on. The mystery was presented early and I liked that our main character was the one to stumble upon the mystery right away. She didn’t just hover around waiting for someone to tell her what to do. She was curious and began investigating. She worked to find the answers she wanted.

The story moved a perfect pace. We got our mystery and pieces were slowly revealed bit by bit. I liked that we weren’t stumbling around wondering what was going on or the end being just a huge info dump. Everything seemed to work in the right order.

Wes was my favorite character in this book. He felt original and fresh. I loved that he wore earrings, nail polish and eyeliner. I loved that he is an individual and he isn’t someone who is going to fall into a generic category. I think too many times male characters are just described as handsome in a super generic way. Wes felt more dynamic and real.

I could have used a bit more detail about how the Archive itself works. I don’t quite understand how they get all the people and their memories there. The world isn’t magical one so I am unsure how that works. Especially since it is so secretive. It isn’t like everyone knows about it yet everyone is cataloged there.

I also saw hints of one of my least favorite things in this story near the end. Thankfully it didn’t go that route but I still feel like the possibility for it, is there in the sequel. The idea that you don’t have to tell someone something in order to protect them. I hate the idea of keeping secrets because you want to keep someone safe. It never works and I hope it doesn’t become a thing in the next book.

I enjoyed the whole ride of this book. I see hints of where the next book could go. I didn’t have anything that threw me out of the story and made me want to put it down.

I have this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed the story, the characters and am excited to read Unbound to see where the story goes.

“We leave memories on objects we love and cherish, things we use and wear down.” pg. 26
“Lying is easy, but lonely.” pg. 84
“Things only hurt more when you can see them.” pg.251



The Circle – Dave Eggers – Review

Mae is beyond excited, she has been hired at the most sought after company in the world. She knows she has to prove herself and she is ready to do whatever is necessary to climb the ranks. The Circle is the leader in technology. Though as she gets deeper into the company Mae begins to understand the scary implications of the work they are doing. Will she fight back or will she succumb to the power of The Circle?


I thought the way the book goes into the power of brainwashing is fascinating. There wasn’t too much plot and the character development was minimal; what really drives this book is the reader watching as Mae falls deeper and deeper into this cult like atmosphere.

It is interesting because it starts off pretty benign. You see her beginning to think like the heads of the company want her to think. And as a reader you agree with some of the way they frame the new development. You agree that you want the world to be safer. But as an outsider you also are able to think deeply about what this new way of life could mean for the world itself.

I sat there reading thinking of how terrifying this whole process seemed. Mae questions things at first but she is quickly told to back off. She is manipulated by how she is given certain questions. She is told to think in one way and when she fights back they make her feel guilty. They twist every word she says and make her feel like she is in the wrong even though her concerns are valid.

I also thought the way the technology evolved was interesting. I read it wondering what they could possibly try to do next and it just got worse and worse. The scariest part is that this is all very possible. We let technology into every part of our lives and we think it is okay but this book shows how far it can go.

I was captured by the way the world is taken into the hands of this company and molded to who they want the world to be. As a reader you read hoping to take notes and know what to look for in case this becomes to close to reality.


I thought the plot itself was lacking a bit. Most of this story was about how the technology progresses and they get closer to closing the Circle. There is a lot of hearing about the new techniques.

Near the end you start to see hints of resistance. I wanted a bit more from this part thought. I also wanted to know more about the founders of the company. I thought they were too flat. I thought that if I understood them a bit more I could understand how this company began. I think deepening their characters would have made the reader feel a bit conflicted about how they see the world. We get hints of what they wanted with this company but I think if we got their POV too I would have had trouble damning their ideas.


I had a bit of an issue with Mae’s character. I felt she was to naive. She accepted everything quite quickly. While she did question things for a minute it wasn’t much.

There is one moment in the first few pages that made me wonder what was wrong with her. She is getting all her passwords and paperwork done on her first day. She is told to sign something but not to ask what it is. She doesn’t even question this idea. She just does it without a thought. I sat there wondering how you could ever sign something without knowing what you signing.

She also is given a new tablet and she is told to upload her personal computer to the new tablet. She is then told all her personal computer information is now in the company’s cloud. Again she doesn’t even think twice about this. How can you literally give all your personal information over to your work place without thinking about it? Work and personal should be separate but she just does it.

I had trouble understanding that anyone wouldn’t at least think this was weird. Now this could be because of the world itself but the world is set up to be much liker ours. I can’t see anyone I know not thinking this is strange and fighting it. This set Mae as too gullible and easy to manipulate too me. I wanted her to be a bit more of a fighter.

I also had an issue with her relationship. She kept going back to someone who was creepy. He taped them without her consent and then made her feel guilty for wanting him to delete it. She then was manipulated into agreeing with him through the system. I don’t blame her for this as much as the system and I thought this depiction was disturbing. I really didn’t like the relationship aspect in this story.

I have this book 3 stars. I enjoyed it I just thought it could have done with a bit more development of the side characters and a bit more focus on the actual plot.

“All that happens must be known” – pg. 68

“It was a kind of micro, but it was incomplete, distorted. And if Francis wanted any or all of that information, why couldn’t he just ask her?” – pg. 126 – This touched on the one time she fought the system but she quickly fell back into line. It also hints at a very problematic relationship.

“Now we’re all God.” pg. 398

“That the volume of information, of data, or judgements, of measurements, was too much, and there were too many people, and too many desires of too many people, and too many opinions of too many people, and too much pain from too many people, and having all it constantly collated, collected, added and aggregated, and presented to her as if that all made it tidier and more manageable – it was too much.” pg. 414


End of the Year Book Tag 2018

Life has been super busy for the last month. I bought and moved into a new house (which is still filled with boxes), then there was Christmas. All of this made it difficult for me to do much blogging. I do have two books I want to review (as soon as I unbox one of them) and to do a another Down the TBR Hole tag, an ABC Challenge post and a Christmas book haul post. I will get to those soon but may be a bit after the New Year.

I wanted to get this one out before the end of the year. I though it would be a great way to wrap up the year and head off to the New Year! I am not sure where this tag started but I have seen it just about everywhere at this point.

Are There Any Books this year that you started and need to finish?
I am currently reading “The Archived” by V.E. Schwab. I would really like to finish that one before the end of the year but not sure I will have the time. If I don’t finish it before the 1st I will have it done in that first week of the year.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?
No, not really. I am not really a seasonal reader, more a mood reader.

Is there a new release you are still waiting for?
I am eager to read “Queen of Air and Darkness” by Cassandra Clare. It was the most recent one I that came out in mid December. I am also eager for James Rollins news Sigma Force novel, “Crucible.” It isn’t coming out this year but it will be out in early January so that is close enough.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?
Since the end of the year is literally a handful of days away I am not going to get three books read. I will like to read as much of “The Archived” as I can. I also liked to get through a few stories in a collection I got for Christmas called Dystopians and Utopians.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite this year?
I doubt it. I am liking “The Archived” but I doubt it will become my favorite of the year.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2019?
Sort of. I would really like to read more diverse books as well as books about psychology. I love the way the human mind works and would like to read more about that. I also would like to read a bit more about major events in history.

I tag anyone who is in the mood to end do an end of the year tag. Since I won’t be back until after the New Year, hope everyone had a great holiday and has a safe and Happy New Year!

ABC Challenge (C)

Time for another trip through my bookshelf. I found a number of titles that stood out with a C. I also realized there is a handful of books I can put in a giveaway pile when I move.

I saw this challenge over on A Book. A Thought

I saw this challenge over on A Book. A Thought

Memorable Titles that started with C:

A Conjuring of Light – V.E. Schwab – This was a great end to this series. I felt like it wrapped things up well. It also brought new light to certain characters. I am excited for this universe to continue

Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell – I remember this book was super interesting but also hard to figure out how it all came together. I like the ethereal feeling it gave me.

Clockwork Princess – Cassandra Clare – This was probably the best of the Mortal Instrument series. I enjoyed it and I like how the “love triangle” made sense and actually worked.

Cinder – Marissa Meyer – This was a great start to a fun series

Circe – Madeline Miller – This gave a whole new perspective to a myth I barely knew before. I am excited to read Song of Achilles soon.

Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo – Another great end to a exciting series. 

Books starting with C on my TBR Shelf:

Discover the Destroyer – K.A. Applegate – Mini-Review

We jumped back into David’s perspective again in this installment in the Everworld series. While we were in the other’s POV’s I was having issues with David. I was falling into this way of seeing him as love struck and wannabe hero. I was having trouble remembering who he truly was.

This book reminded me who this character actually is. David is a kid who is desperate to get back control of his life. He has not felt like he is strong or worthy since his childhood. What happened to him as a child has broken him and he is starting to see the real damage done at that camp.

I find it really interesting how this storyline is being handled. While nothing is blatantly stated or shown you get a good idea of what happened to David. It’s even more interesting because as a teenager I never caught on to what happened. Or if I did it didn’t stay with me. 

Now this storyline I can see and I can understand the true impact it is having on David as a full character. He is very self aware. He is trying hard to not show the rest of his friends what happened to him. He can’t watch as his worst fears about himself are being proved true. We hear how he knows he is weak around Senna but not willing to walk away from her. This push and pull makes their relationship more than just a normal crush relationship.

I remembered this part of the main plot well too. This is the point where our group starts having a lasting impact on the world around them. They are introducing aspects of the real world to this new world. I did have a little trouble believing they could do all the work they needed to do in such a short amount of time. But Jalil is smart so I am letting that slide.

I know the next book is one that I struggled with when I first read the series. I remember it being about fighting and tactic heavy and less about the characters. I am interested to see how I feel about it now. 


NaNoWriMo Wrap Up

So November was National Novel Writing Month and I knew that it was going to be a tough one. I debated not taking part at all but I also knew I had to give it a shot. 

I enjoy NaNoWriMo because of the challenge is provides. I like the idea of trying to get to this final goal along with so many other people. I also really like watching my number climb higher and closer to my goal. I have since found that it is something I can do on Scrivener which is nice to know.

I also knew though that this NaNo was not going to be super successful for me. I think one of the main things I found out throughout November was that I don’t have to write 1,000 words every day to make progress on a project. I can write 100 or 500 and still be moving forward with a story. You don’t have to be writing day in and day out to be a writer and you don’t have to force something just to get words on a page. (At least for me as a writer with a  full time job).

I also learned how to manage my time better over this challenge. I can come home from work and get some words down before dinner. It will be even better when I move this month and have an actual room for my office. I am very excited to have a space dedicated to my writing and my writing only. 

In the end I only ended writing 17,859 words. I didn’t even crack the 25,000 goal I had set for myself, but I did find passion and drive for this story. I am excited for it. I am intrigued where it can go. I wrote it in pieces and at this point I am just going to continue to let it tell itself and then take those pieces and see what I can make of it. 

I don’t know when the novel will be done or where it will go but the NaNoWriMo gave me a push and ultimately that is all I needed. 

How did your NaNo month go?

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