~ Goodreads TBR Cleanup #11 ~

To aid my efforts to clean up my endless TBR, I decided to go with the Goodreads TBR Cleanup (created by @ Mega Bunny Reads). This challenge can be done bi-weekly or weekly (or any other timeframe that suits you). If you’re interest in the other Down the TBR Hole meme, then you can check it out following the links. The meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story — she has a new blog though called Sunflowers and Wonder!

How It Works:

  • Go to your Goodreads want-to-read shelf.
  • Ask Siri (or any other generator) to pick a number between 1 and however many books are on the list.
  • Go to that book and look at it and the 4 after it, for a total of 5.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

For the number selection, I used an online random number generator.


  1. Kind of a Big Deal
by Shannon Hale
[Published August 25th 2020, 304 pages]

There’s nothing worse than peaking in high school. Nobody knows that better than Josie Pie.

She was kind of a big deal―she dropped out of high school to be a star! But the bigger you are, the harder you fall. And Josie fell. Hard. Ouch. Broadway dream: dead.

Meanwhile, her life keeps imploding. Best friend: distant. Boyfriend: busy. Mom: not playing with a full deck? Desperate to escape, Josie gets into reading.

Literally. She reads a book and suddenly she’s inside it. And with each book, she’s a different character: a post-apocalyptic heroine, the lead in a YA rom-com, a 17th century wench in a corset.

It’s alarming. But also . . . kind of amazing?

It’s the perfect way to live out her fantasies. Book after book, Josie the failed star finds a new way to shine. But the longer she stays in a story, the harder it becomes to escape.

Will Josie find a story so good that she just stays forever?


The concept of this novel sounded extremely fun, however, it seems that it just did not live up to its potential. Multiple people reviewed that the main character was unlikeable and that the writing just was not as good as they thought it would be. Typically, I would like to take the time and try the book at for myself, but with so many other books to read that entice me a little more, I decided this book is a toss.

2. Her Dark Lies

by J.T. Ellison
[Published March 9th 2021, 416 pages]

At the wedding of the year, a killer needs no invitation.

Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets.

From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife.

Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…


A destination wedding on the Italian Coast surrounded by mystery sounds like an excellent novel. I have read a lot of mysteries and this one sounds like a really good read. For now, it is worth keeping to give it a try and hopefully I can actually read it sometime in the near-ish future.

3. The Wife Upstairs

by Rachel Hawkins
[Published January 5th 2021, 290 pages]

A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, Rachel Hawkins’s The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.

Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?


This novel ended up on my TBR as it is a Jane Eyre retelling. It also has some vibes from Rebecca, which makes it sound like an interesting mix. I’ve heard some mixed reviews from this story, but I did enjoy Jane Eyre and I’m curious how it will turn out. I am not sure if I can get to it soon, but, for now, this novel is a keep.

4. Real Men Knit

by Kwana Jackson [Published May 19th 2020, 336 pages]

When their foster-turned-adoptive mother suddenly dies, four brothers struggle to keep open the doors of her beloved Harlem knitting shop, while dealing with life and love in Harlem.

Jesse Strong is known for two things: his devotion to his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, and his reputation for breaking hearts in Harlem. When Mama Joy unexpectedly passes away, he and his brothers have different plans on what to do with Strong Knits, their neighborhood knitting store: Jesse wants to keep the store open; his brothers want to shut it down.

Jesse makes an impassioned plea to Kerry Fuller, his childhood friend who has had a crush on him her entire life, to help him figure out how to run the business. Kerry agrees to help him reinvent the store and show him the knitty-gritty of the business, but the more time they spend together, the more the chemistry builds. Kerry, knowing Jesse’s history, doesn’t believe this relationship will exist longer than one can knit one, purl one. But Jesse is determined to prove to her that he can be the man for her—after all, real men knit. 


The synopsis sounds like this novel should be an enjoyable read, so I could not figure out why there were lower reviews for this story. It seems that there is not a lot that happens for the first half of the novel and then you are not as invested in the story by the time the story gets going. For me, it is not worth the time to even try if I’ll most likely end up skimming part of the book as there are millions of others to try instead. Unfortunately, this book shall be a toss.

5. The Kissing Game

by Marie Harte
[Published February 4th 2020, 320 pages]

“I bet you a kiss you can’t resist me.”

Game on

Rena Jackson is ready. She’s worked her tail off to open up her own hair salon, and she’s almost ready to quit her job at the dive bar. Rena’s also a diehard romantic, and she’s had her eye on Axel Heller for a while. He’s got that tall-brooding-and-handsome thing going big-time. Problem is, he’s got that buttoned-up Germanic ice man thing going as well. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Rena’s about ready to give up on Axel and find some other Mr. Right.

At six foot six, Axel knows he intimidates most people. He’s been crushing on the gorgeous waitress for months. But the muscled mechanic is no romantic, and his heart is buried so deep, he has no idea how to show Rena what he feels. He knows he’s way out of his depth and she’s slipping away. So, he makes one crazy, desperate play…

She’s only one kiss away from finding Mr. Right!


All I must say is “wow” when I looked at the reviews as there are tons of negative about the writing and characters. Again, as with any novel that I decide to keep or toss, I try not to let negative reviews completely affect my decision, however, I did for this novel as it seemed there was a general trend in the negative. Multiple reviewers state the main “fair skinned blonde” main character is described as “tall, dark, and handsome.” I’m not sure if this is a disconnect in the writing or just a misconstrued description, but, again, there are tons of other books that I can read instead, so this book is a toss.

Clean-up number 11 is now complete! It is not a bad week as I managed to toss three novels and kept three! I am slowly getting better at maintaining my newfound pickiness to keep or toss books. My two keeps this week are mystery novels that have been on my TBR for at least the last few months and I hope to at least get to either one (maybe both) this year. Happy Clean-ups to those that are doing these every week and good luck to those who are giving it a shot!

3 thoughts on “~ Goodreads TBR Cleanup #11 ~

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