Top Ten Tuesday: Tales from the TBR Tower

Posted January 19, 2016 by meezcarrie in Alastair Bonnett, Christian, Dawn Crandall, Hester Browne, Jared C. Wilson, Jessica R. Patch, Kathryn Springer, Lyndsay Faye, Nicole Deese, Sara Ella, Top Ten Tuesday, Tracy Chevalier / 101 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday Favorite

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme (as always, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish) is about those books we recently added to our ever-growing TBR piles.  Or, in my case, my TBR island.  

Between all the wonderful-sounding new books coming out this year and all the wonderful-sounding new books that came out last year… and all the wonderful-sounding books I discover every Tuesday through the TTT linkup, my TBR pile/tower/island is out. of. control.

And yet, it continues to grow.  More books every day. I don’t know how it happens.

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But, at any rate, here are 10 of the books I’ve most recently added to Australia my TBR list.

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the story of everythingMost of life is mundane: work, school, home, TV, church, sleep, repeat. Sometimes it seem as if there’s no point to our “normal” lives. But what we must remember is that we’re actually part of something huge: God’s story—the greatest story ever told.

In The Story of Everything, Jared Wilson takes readers on a journey that starts before the creation of the world and ends after everything has been made new. Wilson shows us that the gospel isn’t just a ticket to heaven but God’s incredible and unstoppable vision for all of creation.

Looking at God’s redemptive plan for humanity, this book will help you understand what the gospel means for your life, your home, your pets, your hobbies, and more.

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Why I added it: As a reader of mostly fiction, I am all about story.  As an ESL teacher who spends a lot of time with the internationals in my community, I am all about THE Story and new ways to tell it.  That, and who can pass up a tagline like “How you, your pets, and the Swiss Alps fit into God’s plan for the world”? 


Eliyana has always recoiled from her own reflection in the mirror. She believes in nothing if not the ugliness of her own face. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world existed where her blemish could become her strength?

Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a hideous birthmark covering half her face, she knows she will never be prom queen. Not that she wants to be. She’d much rather go unnoticed and graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her as normal. Wanted. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.

But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird.

Not only is Joshua her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian, but the strange man who repeatedly shows up in her mother’s drawings may be more important than Eliyana realized. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.

Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world so similar and yet so very different from our own. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. But saving this world could mean losing everything she holds dear. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?

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Why I added it: I heard about Sara and her upcoming new book through my blogger connections, and I became immediately intrigued by the premise.  While fantasy isn’t my usual genre, I make exceptions from time to time.  This feels like one of those times.

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a cliche christmas2014 American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis Award Finalist

Writing happy endings is easy. Living one is the hard part.

Georgia Cole—known in Hollywood as the “Holiday Goddess”—has made a name for herself writing heartwarming screenplays chock-full of Christmas clichés, but she has yet to experience the true magic of the season. So, when her eccentric grandmother volunteers her to direct a pageant at Georgia’s hometown community theater, she is less than thrilled. To make matters worse, she’ll be working alongside Weston James, her childhood crush and the one man she has tried desperately to forget.

Now, facing memories of a lonely childhood and the humiliation of her last onstage performance, seven years earlier, Georgia is on the verge of a complete mistletoe meltdown. As Weston attempts to thaw the frozen walls around her heart, Georgia endeavors to let go of her fears and give love a second chance. If she does, will she finally believe that Christmas can be more than a cliché?

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Why I added it: For starters, I have a love-hate relationship with the sometimes-cheesy but I-can’t-stop-watching-them Hallmark Christmas movies. This seems like a great way to indulge the fond side of my relationship with the holiday flicks.  Also, the second book in the series, A Season to Love, comes out on February 2nd so I want to catch up 🙂

runaway princess

runaway princess.jpgIf Amy Wilde’s new boyfriend, Leo, treats her like a queen, that’s because he’s secretly a prince himself: Leopold William Victor Wolfsburg of Nirona, the ninth most eligible royal bachelor in the world. Amy soon discovers that dating an heir to a throne has many charms—intimate dinners, glittering galas, and a dazzling new wardrobe with tiaras to match.

But there are also drawbacks: imagine the anxiety of meeting your boyfriend’s parents multiplied by “riding in a private jet,” “staying in a castle,” and “discussing the line of succession over lunch.” Not to mention the sudden press interest in your very un-royal family.

Amy would do anything for Leo, but is finding her Prince Charming worth the price of losing herself?

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Why I added it: Well, Rissi over at Dreaming Under the Same Moon recommended it.  She and I like a lot of the same movies so I figured I couldn’t go too wrong if she likes it.  Plus, Rissi said it kinda has a “The Prince and Me” vibe – that pretty much sealed the deal.

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at the edge of the orchard.jpgFrom internationally bestselling author Tracy Chevalier, a riveting drama of a pioneer family on the American frontier

1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled where their wagon got stuck – in the muddy, stagnant swamps of northwest Ohio. They and their five children work relentlessly to tame their patch of land, buying saplings from a local tree man known as John Appleseed so they can cultivate the fifty apple trees required to stake their claim on the property. But the orchard they plant sows the seeds of a long battle. James loves the apples, reminders of an easier life back in Connecticut; while Sadie prefers the applejack they make, an alcoholic refuge from brutal frontier life.

1853: Their youngest child Robert is wandering through Gold Rush California. Restless and haunted by the broken family he left behind, he has made his way alone across the country. In the redwood and giant sequoia groves he finds some solace, collecting seeds for a naturalist who sells plants from the new world to the gardeners of England. But you can run only so far, even in America, and when Robert’s past makes an unexpected appearance he must decide whether to strike out again or stake his own claim to a home at last.

Chevalier tells a fierce, beautifully crafted story in At the Edge of the Orchard, her most graceful and richly imagined work yet.

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Why I added it: I think the Johnny Appleseed tie-in is unique.  I’ve always been fascinated with this larger-than-life character, so that alone put this book on my radar when I saw it on several Top Ten Tuesday posts a few weeks ago.  I’ve also always been drawn to stories of pioneers and the American frontier, and the fact that it covers two separate time periods adds to my interest.

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jane steele.jpg“Reader, I murdered him.”

A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre “last confessions” of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement.  Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.

Burning to know whether she is in fact the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito, and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents—the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, and the gracious Sikh butler Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair’s violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him—body, soul, and secrets—without revealing her own murderous past?

A satirical romance about identity, guilt, goodness, and the nature of lies, by a writer who Matthew Pearl calls “superstar-caliber” and whose previous works Gillian Flynn declared “spectacular,” Jane Steele is a brilliant and deeply absorbing book inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s classic Jane Eyre.

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Why I added it: Let me say first of all that this seems a bit darker than the books I typically gravitate toward, and I may in fact not like it once I start reading it.  But I do love reimaginings of my favorite classics and so I simply had to add it to Australia my TBR list when I saw it on a Top Ten Tuesday list recently.

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book scavenger.jpgFor twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles).

Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.

Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold’s new game—before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.

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Why I added it: Well, for starters, the COVER. I adore it! And then I read the synopsis and fell in love with that, too. A scavenger hunt for books? Clues that lead to a mystery? Count me in.

fatal reunion

fatal reunionWhen her beloved grandmother is almost killed during a home invasion, Piper Kennedy isn’t surprised that she’s a suspect—especially since Luke Ransom is on the case.

The handsome detective she once loved thinks she knows more than she’s telling about the attack. And given her crooked past and the heartbreaking way she’d been forced to betray Luke years ago, Piper understands why he doesn’t trust her.

But when attempts are made on her life, Luke insists on keeping her safe and finding out who wants her dead.

And Piper and Luke soon realize a remorseless criminal will do anything to keep them from the truth…or an unexpected second shot at a future.

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Why I added it: I’ve been hearing such good things about this book from several authors and reviewers, and I’m always a fan of the Love Inspired Suspense line. The plot promises some great opportunities for “emotional romance” – you know, where the hero is worried about the heroine and he gets all protective and his voice gets raspy. *dreamy sigh*

the hearts we mend

the hearts we mend.jpgPlanning and Post-It notes are the epitome of Evie’s life. But when she meets Jack, her life gets more than a little complicated.

Thirteen years ago, Evie’s firefighterhusband was killed in the line of duty, leaving her to raise their young son, Cody, alone. Now, Cody is marrying the love of his life, and as he packs up his belongings, the house feels as empty as Evie’s heart. But for all her planning and mad organizational skills, Evie could never have anticipated the dramatic shift her life is about to make.

Tattooed, rough-around-the-edgesJack raises quite a few eyebrows in the tight-knit community of Banister Falls. Where Evie’s life is stream-lined, Jack’s approach to living is moment-by-moment. But as Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe or predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems outside the walls of the church.  

Jack doesn’t make Evie feel comfortable, but he definitely makes her feel something. Something she hasn’t felt since Max passed away—or, maybe ever. Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs. 

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Why I added it: One of the publicity groups I blog for (Litfuse) is going to be touring this book in a couple of months, and when I saw the blurb I thought it sounded really interesting.  Especially that last line – “Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs.”

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unruly placesA tour of the world’s hidden geographies—from disappearing islands to forbidden deserts—and a stunning testament to how mysterious the world remains today

At a time when Google Maps Street View can take you on a virtual tour of Yosemite’s remotest trails and cell phones double as navigational systems, it’s hard to imagine there’s any uncharted ground left on the planet. In Unruly Places, Alastair Bonnett goes to some of the most unexpected, offbeat places in the world to reinspire our geographical imagination.

Bonnett’s remarkable tour includes moving villages, secret cities, no man’s lands, and floating islands. He explores places as disorienting as Sandy Island, an island included on maps until just two years ago despite the fact that it never existed. Or Sealand, an abandoned gun platform off the English coast that a British citizen claimed as his own sovereign nation, issuing passports and crowning his wife as a princess. Or Baarle, a patchwork of Dutch and Flemish enclaves where walking from the grocery store’s produce section to the meat counter can involve crossing national borders.

An intrepid guide down the road much less traveled, Bonnett reveals that the most extraordinary places on earth might be hidden in plain sight, just around the corner from your apartment or underfoot on a wooded path. Perfect for urban explorers, wilderness ramblers, and armchair travelers struck by wanderlust, Unruly Places will change the way you see the places you inhabit.

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Why I added it: When I saw this book mentioned on another Top Ten Tuesday post, my first thought was, “This sounds like a book my husband would like.” After reading more about it, I think it sounds very much like a book I would like as well!

***And a BONUS book… just because I love y’all***

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the cautious maiden teaser

(Full cover reveal HERE!)

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother transforms her deceased parents’ respectable country inn into a brothel to accommodate the lumberjacks in the area. When her reputation is compromised, she finds herself forced to enter into an engagement with Vance Everstone. Can she trust this man she hardly knows who has a scandalous reputation in his own right?

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Why I added it: 1) I love Dawn Crandall’s books, 2) I’ve needed to find out what happens to Vance Everstone since The Bound Heartand 3) I just KNOW there will be some incredible kissing scenes (see point #1).

What books have magically appeared on your TBR list recently? Did I add any books to it today? 😉


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101 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Tales from the TBR Tower

  1. deannadodson

    I would say YOU are the main reason my already outrageous TBR CONTINENT is growing by leaps and bounds! 😀

  2. My TBR pile might be classified as its own continent at this point. It has surpassed Mt. Everest status…and you’re not making it any easier with so many good books! At the Edge of the Orchard looks so good!

    • haha! I’m sure today’s theme & all the other posts I will be reading will have my TBR rivaling a continent before too long as well 😉

  3. TBR island is brilliant because TBR pile just doesn’t cut it anymore! XD
    This is my first time hearing about any of those books, they all seem really interesting, particularly Jane Steele.

  4. At this rate, I’m going to have to do a new post – Books I added to my TBR Because of Today’s TTT. 😉

    Jane Steele sounds great! I read Lyndsay Faye’s Dust and Shadow, which is about Sherlock Holmes solving the Jack the Ripper case. It was really well done, although significantly more grisly than a typical Holmes story.

  5. Kav

    I found a lot of these in my library. More holds for me. Tee hee. My hold list is bigger than my TBR pile. Such a dilemma.

    • LOL! I have had to cut myself (mostly) off from requesting books at the library until I get caught up on reading books for review. I still have a couple active though 😉

  6. I’ve never heard of these books, but they look interesting. At the Edge of the Orchard and Unruly Places particularly caught my eye. Great list!

  7. I haven’t heard of any of these books, but I’m definitely going to check a few out 🙂 And don’t worry, we all struggle with huge TBR spikes haha!

  8. I’d never heard of Jane Steele or The Story of Everything, and they both sound really interesting! I’m a huge fan of Jane Eyre, so I may have to add Jane Steele to my (also massive) TBR Island. 🙂

  9. readerbuzz

    I love the way you organized this. It’s lovely. And now I’m off to add Unruly Places to my wish list.

  10. Hi Carrie, Thanks for stopping by the blog earlier. I am glad that you were able to find something that piqued your interest. I haven’t heard of any of the books on your list, but that isn’t going to stop me from feeding the TBR monster. 😉

  11. Alison's Wonderland Recipes

    At the Edge of the Orchard sounds neat! I love historical fiction, and the author’s approach looks pretty unique.

  12. The only book on your list that I’ve heard of is the Book Scavenger, but they all look like a lot of fun. I hope you get to read them all and that you love every page! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  13. TBR Island – brilliant. And now I’m going to add another book to mine because The Runaway Princess sounds really good. If only there were more hours in the day to read all these books 🙂

  14. My TBR is out of control. You got a nice mix of books here. At the Edge of the Orchid sounds really good. Unruly Places caught my eye, too. Great list, I hope you enjoy them all.

  15. I love cheesy made for TV Christmas movies too!! I literally (not so) secretly watch them practically all December. That being said, I’m definitely going to check out A Cliche Christmas! Also, Jane Steele is intriguing me and I really am enjoying the cover. To the TBR it goes! 🙂

  16. Jen

    YES to having an island of TBRs! It’s impossible not to continually add to it! And the Book Scavenger sounds absolutely adorable. 🙂

  17. Great list this week! I’ve been hearing so much about Jane Steele that I am really starting to get excited about it. And Book Scavenger seems like the exact kind of book young me would have drooled over…

    My TTT

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