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.
TODAY’S RANDOM NUMBER: 391
1. The Woods
Two girls went down to the woods… But only one came back
There’s a lot from Tess’s childhood that she would rather forget. The family who moved next door and brought chaos to their quiet lives. The two girls who were murdered, their killer never found. But the only thing she can’t remember is the one thing she wishes she could.
Ten years ago, Tess’s older sister died. Ruled a tragic accident, the only witness was Tess herself, but she has never been able to remember what happened that night in the woods.
Now living in London, Tess has resolved to put the trauma behind her. But an emergency call from her father forces her back to the family home, back to where her sister’s body was found, and to the memories she thought were lost forever…
I greatly enjoy thrillers with this type of mystery element, so this book made its way onto my TBR. While the premise itself sounds great to me, I have read that this book can be a little too predictable with a lot of the clues hidden in plain sight. Therefore, this book is a toss for me as I have a few others that are a little more unpredictable still on my TBR.
2. The Orchard
Ari Eden’s life has always been governed by strict rules. In ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn, his days are dedicated to intense study and religious rituals, and adolescence feels profoundly lonely. So when his family announces that they are moving to a glitzy Miami suburb, Ari seizes his unexpected chance for reinvention.
Enrolling in an opulent Jewish academy, Ari is stunned by his peers’ dizzying wealth, ambition, and shameless pursuit of life’s pleasures. When the academy’s golden boy, Noah, takes Ari under his wing, Ari finds himself entangled in the school’s most exclusive and wayward group. These friends are magnetic and defiant—especially Evan, the brooding genius of the bunch, still living in the shadow of his mother’s death.
Influenced by their charismatic rabbi, the group begins testing their religion in unconventional ways. Soon Ari and his friends are pushing moral boundaries and careening toward a perilous future—one in which the traditions of their faith are repurposed to mysterious, tragic ends.
Mesmerizing and playful, heartrending and darkly romantic, The Orchard probes the conflicting forces that determine who we become: the heady relationships of youth, the allure of greatness, the doctrines we inherit, and our concealed desires.
I honestly do not remember adding this to my TBR, but the premise sounds interesting as I do not have many others on my endless TBR that even come close. Based on my current trend towards fantasy reads right now, I do not believe this one would end up being read anytime soon. Maybe one day I’ll circle back to this, as it is different, but I have no idea when that would be.
3. Only When It’s Us (Berman Brothers #1)
Ever since she sat next to me in class and gave me death eyes, Willa Sutter’s been on my shit list. Why she hates me, I don’t know. What I do know is that Willa is the kind of chaos I don’t need in my tidy life. She’s the next generation of women’s soccer. Wild hair, wilder eyes. Bee-stung lips that should be illegal. And a temper that makes the devil seem friendly.
She’s a thorn in my side, a menacing, cantankerous, pain-in-the-ass who’s turned our Business Mathematics course into a goddamn gladiator arena. I’ll leave this war zone unscathed, coming out on top…And if I have my way with that crazy-haired, ball-busting hellion, that will be in more than one sense of the word.
Rather than give me the lecture notes I missed like every other instructor I’ve had, my asshole professor tells me to get them from the silent, surly flannel-wearing mountain man sitting next to me in class. Well, I tried. And what did I get from Ryder Bergman? Ignored. What a complete lumbersexual neanderthal. Mangy beard and mangier hair. Frayed ball cap that hides his eyes. And a stubborn refusal to acknowledge my existence.
I’ve battled men before, but with Ryder, it’s war. I’ll get those notes and crack that Sasquatch nut if it’s the last thing I do, then I’ll have him at my mercy. Victory will have never tasted so sweet.
Only When It’s Us is a frenemies-to-lovers, college sports romance about a women’s soccer star and her surly lumberjack lookalike classmate, complete with a matchmaking professor, juvenile pranks, and a smoking slow burn. This standalone is the first in a series of new novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.
In the Bergman Brothers series, each novel is a standalone featuring a new main character. While I am still extremely interested in this series, I do not see myself attempting it quite yet. I know a lot of people that have liked different novels in the series, so I may one day read one or all, but, for now, this novel is a toss.
4. The Guest Book
The Guest Book follows three generations of a powerful American family, a family that “used to run the world”.
And when the novel begins in 1935, they still do. Kitty and Ogden Milton appear to have everything—perfect children, good looks, a love everyone envies. But after a tragedy befalls them, Ogden tries to bring Kitty back to life by purchasing an island in Maine. That island, and its house, come to define and burnish the Milton family, year after year after year. And it is there that Kitty issues a refusal that will haunt her till the day she dies.
In 1959 a young Jewish man, Len Levy, will get a job in Ogden’s bank and earn the admiration of Ogden and one of his daughters, but the scorn of everyone else. Len’s best friend Reg Pauling has always been the only black man in the room—at Harvard, at work, and finally at the Miltons’ island in Maine.
An island that, at the dawn of the 21st century, this last generation doesn’t have the money to keep. When Kitty’s granddaughter hears that she and her cousins might be forced to sell it, and when her husband brings back disturbing evidence about her grandfather’s past, she realizes she is on the verge of finally understanding the silences that seemed to hover just below the surface of her family all her life.
An ambitious novel that weaves the American past with its present, The Guest Book looks at the racism and power that has been systemically embedded in the US for generations. Brimming with gorgeous writing and bitterly accurate social criticism, it is a literary tour de force.
I have mixed feelings about novels that feature multiple timelines as sometimes they feel very forced when the author tries to connect them together. While this might not be the case for this novel, it is still a possibility. Obviously, based on the time periods, the book will touch on WWII with this family’s story tying in somehow. This intrigues me a lot as I love to read stories about history. Therefore, I asked a few friends who did read this and neither of them recommended it as they felt it was missing something for the reader to fully connect to the story. Since I’ve generally liked similar books to them, I’ll trust them on this and toss this novel.
5. Jenna Takes the Fall
Twenty-four years old and newly employed in Manhattan, Jenna McCann agrees to place herself under the dead body of a wealthy, prominent New Yorker―her boss―to hide the identity of his real lover. But why?
Because she is half in love with him herself; because her only friend at Hull Industries asked her to; because she feared everyone around her; because she had no idea how this would spin out into her own, undeveloped life; because she had nothing and no one?
Or just because?
Deftly told and sharply observed, Jenna Takes the Fall is the story of someone who became infamous… before she became anybody at all.
This is another novel that I do not recall adding to my TBR. When I read over the synopsis, I am immediately already on the fence. This sounds like it could be an interesting mystery to figure out why Jenna makes certain decisions and how she arrives from point A to point B. On the other hand, it somehow does not feel like enough, even though it is just a synopsis, to draw me in and make me want to keep this novel on my TBR. Therefore, unfortunately, this novel goes in the toss pile.
Clean-up number 16 is now complete! This week marks another triumphant clean-up as all five novels ended up in the “toss” pile. No matter how many clean-ups I conduct, it does not get easier to choose whether a novel is tossed or kept. Every time I look at my TBR, I think “oh, that looks good” or “maybe I’ll read that next,” but, knowing myself, it will not actually happen anytime soon. At the moment, I have a ton of ARCs that I am reading either ebooks or paperbacks. While I am working through some of my backlog through audiobooks, there is only so many books I can fit in week and I could not keep up with the sheer volume that I have unless I wanted to burn myself out. Therefore, I keep trying to make myself be more picky with novels, but it does not get any easier. Oh, well. One day I’ll hopefully get to a manageable TBR number and then, I can forgo the clean-ups. I do not see it happening anytime soon, but it’s nice to dream. Happy Clean-ups to those that are doing these every week and good luck to those who are giving it a shot!