This week I haven’t actually added any books to my TBR, so I am still sitting at 497. That’s enough formalities, let’s get to it. Random number generator set to 497 and our first book is…
The Culling (The Torch Keeper #1) by Steven dos Santos
Synopsis from goodreads: “Recruitment Day is here…if you fail, a loved one will die…
For Lucian “Lucky” Spark, Recruitment Day means the Establishment, a totalitarian government, will force him to become one of five Recruits competing to join the ruthless Imposer task force. Each Recruit participates in increasingly difficult and violent military training for a chance to advance to the next level. Those who fail must choose an “Incentive”—a family member—to be brutally killed. If Lucky fails, he’ll have to choose death for his only living relative: Cole, his four-year-old brother”
Verdict: It has a fairly average rating, and though I do often like dystopian YA, I can’t get over how this plot seems way too eerily similar to The Hunger Games. I just find myself a little too *meh* about this, so I’m going to toss it.
Rush (The Game #1) by Eve Silver
Synopsis from goodreads: “So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?
Miki Jones’s carefully controlled life spins into chaos after she’s run down in the street, left broken and bloody. She wakes up fully healed in a place called the lobby – pulled from her life, through time and space into some kind of game in which she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures.
There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Every moment of the game is kill or be killed, and Miki has only the questionable guidance of Jackson Tate, the team’s alluring and secretive leader. He evades her questions, holds himself aloof from the others, and claims it’s every player for himself. But when he puts himself at risk to watch Miki’s back, he leaves her both frustrated and fascinated. Jackson says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival. And the survival of every other person on the planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.”
Verdict: Hmm… seeing as how these two both harken back to the same days on my TBR, I was obviously going through a reading phase where I liked dystopian YA in which kids are tasked with killing each other. After perusing reviews, it seems this one contains a lot of the YA cliches that SOMETIMES turn me off from the genre, like barfy romance and hyper annoying main character. I just find myself no longer interested.
Winter (Four Seasons #4) by Emily-Jane Hills Orford
Synopsis from goodreads: “Joseph Alon Tomah has some serious issues to sort out. Not only is he sure that his parents’ deaths were no mere accident; he also believes that there is a long list of mysterious deaths in the family that are slowly tracking their path to his door. His music quickly becomes his solace, his passion as he excels in both performance and composition. His Rugeri cello is a treasure; but it is not his only cello and they are all valuable instruments. Is it the instruments that make him the target? Or, is it his heritage, his ancestry? These questions and more plague his mind as he struggles to recover all that he has lost. Winter is the chilling conclusion to Emily-Jane Hills Orford’s popular Four Seasons series. Like Vivaldi wrote in his poems, there is a time and a reason for each season and everyone must live through the four seasons of their life.”
Verdict: Evidently I must have added this when I entered a giveaway. It’s compelling, and I love the idea of basing a series of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concerto. There are really very few reviews for any of these books. This volume has 4 reviews and one is by the author. As this is book 4, I really don’t see me picking this up. I’m going to remove.
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Synopsis from goodreads: “In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister.
Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.”
Verdict: This book has an incredible rating at 4.23 stars and it’s getting a lot of buzz since it was released in 2019, including being included in the New York Times list as one of the 10 best books of the year. I think I’ll definitely want to read this, so I’m going to keep it.
The Ghost Horse: A True Story of Love, Death and Redemption by Joe Layden
Synopsis from goodreads: “In The Ghost Horse, Joe Layden tells the inspiring true tale of a one-eyed, club-footed thoroughbred racehorse and a journeyman trainer, Tim Snyder, who scraped together every penny he had to purchase the broken and unwanted filly. Snyder helped the horse overcome its deficiencies, eventually naming her in part after his deceased wife, Lisa, the great and only love of his life—a bright and sweet-tempered woman whose gentle demeanor seemed eerily reflected in the horse. The trainer (and now owner) was by nature a crusty and combative sort, the yin to his wife’s yang, a racetrack lifer not easily moved by new-age mysticism or sentiment. And yet in those final days back in 2003, when Lisa Snyder lay in bed, her body ravaged by cancer, she reassured her family with a weak smile. “It’s okay,” she’d say. “I’ll see you again. I’m coming back as a horse.”
Tim Snyder did not then believe in reincarnation. But he acknowledged the strangeness of this journey, the series of coincidences that brought them together, and the undeniable similarities between the horse and his late wife. And so did those who knew the couple well, and who could now only marvel at the story of the filly, Lisa’s Booby Trap, and the down-on-his-luck trainer who apparently had been given a new lease on life.”
Verdict: This looks a bit compelling, but I’m not overly enthused by the average rating or the reviews I perused and, frankly, I’m just not interested enough to take a chance. Some people said this reads more like a sports memoir than it does a touching human interest piece, and I really don’t like sports stuff. Meh… I’m going to remove this one.
Well, I was a bit brutal today, only keeping one of the five. Now my list is down to 493. I will have a book review to post either today or tomorrow, depending on whether or not I can finish it. See you soon and happy reading!