Down the TBR Hole #8

Down the TBR Hole is a meme that was started by Lia @ Lost in a Story. Here is how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

This is my 8th trip down the hole. Lets see what is waiting at the bottom of it today! All book descriptions in italics are taken from Goodreads.

The Confessions of Young Nero (Nero #1) by Margaret George  – Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar’s imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman or child.

As a boy, Nero’s royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son’s inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead.

While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina’s machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero’s determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become, an Emperor who became legendary.

With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy’s ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival.

It is not big secret that I absolutely adore historical fiction. A book about the mentally unhinged emperor Nero? I’m so in.

Verdict: KEEP

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley – In 1859, ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall after sustaining an injury that almost cost him his leg and something is wrong; a statue moves, his grandfather’s pines explode, and his brother accuses him of madness.

When the India Office recruits Merrick for an expedition to fetch quinine—essential for the treatment of malaria—from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea. Nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But Merrick is desperate to escape everything at home, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for a tiny mission colony on the edge of the Amazon where a salt line on the ground separates town from forest. Anyone who crosses is killed by something that watches from the trees, but somewhere beyond the salt are the quinine woods, and the way around is blocked.

Surrounded by local stories of lost time, cursed woods, and living rock, Merrick must separate truth from fairytale and find out what befell the last expeditions; why the villagers are forbidden to go into the forest; and what is happening to Raphael, the young priest who seems to have known Merrick’s grandfather, who visited Peru many decades before. The Bedlam Stacks is the story of a profound friendship that grows in a place that seems just this side of magical

I have some guilt about this book. Netgalley gave it to me as an eARC back in January (yikes) and I still haven’t read it. Honestly, I’m not sure I really want to and not just because the eARC is formatted poorly. I’m on a fence about it. Hm. I think that for now I’ll keep a hold of it.

Verdict: KEEP

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston – A five-hundred-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world’s densest jungle.

Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.

Three quarters of a century later, bestselling author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization.

Venturing into this raw, treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to confirm the discovery, Preston and the team battled torrential rains, quickmud, disease-carrying insects, jaguars, and deadly snakes. But it wasn’t until they returned that tragedy struck: Preston and others found they had contracted in the ruins a horrifying, sometimes lethal-and incurable-disease.

Pretty much lost at “the true story.” Sounds like it would be a wonderful book for the right reader, but that isn’t me.

Verdict: tenor

White Out (24690 #2) by A.A. Dark – For the briefest moment, revenge was sweet. My husband was suffering before my very eyes, and Bram … he was alive. 

But happiness didn’t last.

The man who claimed he wasn’t my savior held true to his word. Bram didn’t rush in and save me from the cruel fate of the White Room. No one did. Now I’m tortured with red light massacres and a hell I could have never imagined. Surviving will take everything I have, but I’m determined to get answers from the man who turned his back on me.

When I think it can’t get worse … it does. Slave 24690 is all but gone. The evil woman reborn is what nightmares are made of. Insanity beckons, but even my madness won’t derail the plans I’ve set in motion. 

Masters will fall. Conspiracies will reign. But will I be strong enough to let go of the one thing that could ultimately destroy me?

This is the second book in the 24690 duology. I reviewed the first book, entitled 24690, here. To say the least I know that this book will be violent, bloody, and unhinged. I’m still going to read it.

Verdict: KEEP

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson – Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book’s categorization to be sure that ‘The Devil in the White City’ is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. 

Burnham’s challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous “White City” around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair’s incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. 

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World’s Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

Here is another no brainer for you. I read through about half of this nearly two years ago now. I put it down while I was preparing a household to move and never picked it up again, but I’m going to. Just a really well written and immersive story.

Verdict: KEEP

That was certainly not one of my more successful purges but enjoyable all the same. Show me your TBR purge. 

2 thoughts on “Down the TBR Hole #8

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