Welcome to my very first Down the TBR Hole post! I’m super excited to try this out. As I explained in a recent discussion post, my TBR is way too long for its own good. I’ve tried tons of different techniques to lower my TBR, but nothing seems to work. So I’m (figuratively) crossing every appendage of my body in hopes that this meme helps.
And in case you’re not aware, Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lost in a Story that involves cleansing your TBR of all the books you no longer feel like reading. I’ll be featuring ten books at a time, and deciding if they should stay, or be removed!
I decided to start at the very bottom of my Goodreads to-read shelf, and work my way up. It should be fun to see what I put on there a million years ago!
1. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Published: Sept. 24th, 2013
Synopsis: Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.
Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
Thoughts: I don’t hear much about this Brandon Sanderson series in the YA community, which is probably why it’s been on my TBR for four years. But my good friend Jordyn really enjoyed it, and the premise does sound interesting!
2. Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Published: Feb. 26th, 2013
Synopsis: Two of you exist. Only one will survive.
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Thoughts: I bought this book when the dystopia/futuristic genre was really popular. Now, I’m not so sure about it. The idea of a twin/doppelganger you have to kill is interesting, but the rest of it feels like something I’ve read before. When compared with all the newer books on my shelf, I would probably never choose to read this.
3. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Published: April 24th, 2012
Synopsis: To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness.
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.
Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for—again.
Enter Julie Kagawa’s dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins.
Thoughts: I’ve seen a fair amount of hype around Julie’s Talon series, but have barely even heard of this! Truth be told, I completely forgot about it. This definitely came out during the YA-dystopia era, but with vampires and zombies on the side. Knowing myself, I won’t really care for this much now, as my preferred genre is really fantasy.
4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Published: Aug. 2nd, 2012
Synopsis: In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
Thoughts: Oh how I laugh at this now! When I first added ToG to my list, I had no idea the reputation it would gain in the long run. On a whim, I actually went and bought the entire (yes, the ENTIRE) ToG series in hardback. In retrospect—not a great decision. But I am truly interested in discovering this story for myself, since it’s sort of a YA fantasy classic. I think I’ll just wait till the SJM hype dies down.
5. Virals by Kathy and Brendan Reichs
Published: Nov. 2nd, 2010
Synopsis: Adventure is in Tory Brennan’s blood. After all, she’s the grandniece of world-famous forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Always up for a challenge, Tory and her science-geek friends spend their time exploring the marshlands of Loggerhead Island, home to the very off-limits Loggerhead Island Research Institute, where something strange is going on. After rescuing a stray wolfdog pup from a top-secret lab, Tory and her friends are exposed to a rare strain of canine parvovirus, changing them–and their DNA–forever. Now they are more than friends. They are a pack. They are Virals. And they’re dangerous to the core. But are they unstoppable enough to catch a cold-blooded murderer?
Thoughts: I think this list is strong proof of what the early YA genre revolved around, LOL. Again, this is a futuristic book featuring some supernatural elements. Not really my thing.
6. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Published: May 6th, 2014
Synopsis: Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation – and burden – that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk. On the eve of the Dokimí ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother’s hopes.
The Dokimí proceeds, a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin’s arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina’s darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heriones scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence
Thoughts: One day, I’d love to read a good mermaid book. But something tells me that this is not that book. The synopsis makes it sound like a middle grade (which maybe it is, I’m not sure), with a predictable plot-line and underwhelming characters. A bit more simplistic, at the very least.
7. Endgame: The Calling by James Frey
Published: Oct. 7th, 2014
Synopsis: Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.
This is Endgame.
For ten thousand years the lines have existed in secret. The 12 original lines of humanity. Each had to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained generation after generation after generation. In weapons, languages, history, tactics, disguise assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, weak. They are good and evil. Like you. Like all.
This is Endgame.
When the game starts, the players will have to find three keys. The keys are somewhere on earth. The only rule of their Endgame is that there are no rules. Whoever finds the keys first wins the game. Endgame: The Calling is about the hunt for the first key. And just as it tells the story of the hunt for a hidden key, written into the book is a puzzle. It invites readers to play their own Endgame and to try to solve the puzzle. Whoever does will open a case filled with gold. Alongside the puzzle will be a revolutionary mobile game built by Google’s Niantic Labs that will allow you to play a real-world version of Endgame where you can join one of the lines and do battle with people around you.
Will exuberance beat strength? Stupidity top kindness? Laziness thwart beauty? Will the winner be good or evil? There is only one way to find out.
People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.
Thoughts: After rereading the synopsis, Endgame seems like an amazing book— at first. Then it starts talking about the virtual game readers can play, and it lost me. A good old-fashioned treasure hunt? Tied to a story about the history of humanity? I’m definitely up for that. But combined with the fact that no one ever talked about this book, that “virtual game” thing turned me off.
8. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Published: June 5th, 2012
Synopsis: When Dean raced out the door to catch the school bus, he didn’t realize it would be the last time he’d ever see his mom. After a freak hailstorm sends the bus crashing into a superstore, Dean and a group of students of all ages are left to fend for themselves.
They soon realize the hailstorm and the crash are the least of their worries. After seeing a series of environmental and chemical disasters ravage the outside world, they realize they’re trapped inside the store.
Unable to communicate with the ones they love, the group attempts to cobble together a new existence. As they struggle to survive, Dean and the others must decide which risk is greater: leaving… or staying.
Monument 14 is a post-apocalyptic YA novel that transcends age barriers. If you like heart-stopping suspense, realistic characters, and new takes on survival novels, then you’ll love the first book in Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14 series.
Thoughts: I have read one singular survival book in my entire life. And that was enough to do it for me. I HATE survival stories, where the characters attempt to live off a limited quantity of canned food, with no electricity or running water, and eventually tear each other apart. That’s way too much stress for one person, I’ll stick to my sword-fighting and magic, thanks.
9. Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
Published: April 8th, 2014
Synopsis: In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.
Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.
Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.
Thoughts: If I had managed to read this when I first bought it, I have a feeling that I would’ve truly enjoyed it. I mean, emperors and ancient evil? That’s definitely my speed. But the story line about the awakening dead … not so much. This is really on the borderline for me, but given my massive TBR, I think I’d rather spend my time on other books.
10. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Published: Sept. 20th. 2011
Synopsis: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.
Thoughts: Dang, I don’t know if I’ve ever read a synopsis that just screamed “CHOSEN ONE” so loudly. In 2011, that may have been something to advertise, but now I’m thinking that would turn most people off. And that line about a man “that looks at her in a way no man has before?” Yeesh. I’m not here for that kind of drippy, cringe-worthy romance.
Wow, I only kept two books! That’s insane! But not entirely surprising, considering I bought all these books back in 2014 (or earlier), and my tastes have changed quite a bit. As I move up on my TBR, it will probably get much more difficult to eliminate books.
TBR Status Check
BEFORE: 149 books
AFTER: 141 books