TBR Thursday–Take These Books, Please!

Let’s see…what can I get rid of, er, I mean give away this week? In case you missed previous giveaways, my word for 2015 is “Simplify.” It means cutting things out of my life that cause me stress, at least when I can, making complex tasks simpler, and decluttering. My 500-plus title TBR pile is stressing me out, and new books seem to arrive daily. So I want them to be available to you!

Be warned—they’re in no order by genre or format or release date. Today’s selections are from the stacks of books I have piled on the stairs en route to the second floor of my house, meaning the poor things never even made it up to the official TBR shelves. This is NO reflection on the quality of the book–in fact, several of them I’d really like to read, but…you know….TBR…Simplify.

HOW TO ENTER: Leave a comment saying which of these books you’d read first!

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BOOK 1:
CHARM AND STRANGE, by STEPHANIE KUEHN (St. Martins Griffin, June 2014).
This was Kuehn’s debut novel, which won the William C. Morris Debut Award from the American Library Association. This is a trade paperback. Warning: This book arrived in a full-out downpour and was left propped against the front door, so it has water damage. The blurb: No one really knows who Andrew Winston Winters is. Least of all himself. He is part Win, a lonely teenager exiled to a remote boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts the whole world out, no matter the cost, because his darkest fear is of himself …of the wolfish predator within. But he’s also part Drew, the angry boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who, one fateful summer, was part of something so terrible it came close to destroying him. A deftly woven, elegant, unnerving psychological thriller about a boy at war with himself. Charm and Strange is a masterful exploration of one of the greatest taboos.

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BOOK 2:
COMPLICITY, by STEPHANIE KUEHN (St, Martins Griffin, June 2014).
A second book from Kuehn, released at about the same time as the debut, although the two are standalones. This one’s a hardcover. The blurb: Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else. But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie. Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know the truth about their past. A truth she’s kept hidden for years. A truth she’s not supposed to tell.  Trust nothing and no one as you race toward the explosive conclusion of this gripping psychological thriller from the William C. Morris Award-winning author of Charm & Strange.

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BOOK 3:
FLIGHT OF THE GOLDEN HARPY, by SUSAN KLAUS (Tor, June 2014).
This is a total genre-fest, described as a “a fantastical, romantic science fiction” story, which sounds fascinating. This is a hardcover. The blurb: Kari, a young woman, returns to her jungle planet of Dora after ten years in Earth’s schools and is determined to unravel the mysteries surrounding the harpies, a feral species half-bird, half-mortal. The residences of Dora believe the harpies are dangerous game animals and hunt them for their trophy wings, but Kari thinks they are intelligent and not just wild animals. A rare golden harpy, a teenage blond male with yellow wings rescued Kari as a child from the jaws of a water monster. Upon returning home, she learns the harpies are facing extinction with the over-hunting and she sets out to save them, all the time wondering if the golden male is still alive. Flight of the Golden Harpy is a fantasy, but also a mystery, thriller, and a love story that leaves a reader questioning our humanity

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BOOK 4:
THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN, by KRISTY CAMBRON (Thomas Nelson, July 2014).
This is billed as historical Christian fiction; one of my coworkers RAVED about it and it does sound interesting. There are no paranormal elements, so be forewarned. This is a trade paperback ARC. The blurb: A Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz–and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan. Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl–a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes. In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover–the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul–who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron. A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire. As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

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BOOK 5:
KINSLAYER, by Jay Kristoff (Thomas Dunne, September 2013).
Second in the Lotus War series, a steampunkish tale set in a  feudal dystopian Japanese-inspired kingdom. I’m pretty sure I have book one somewhere so if you win this week, when I unearth book one I will send it along. This is a hardcover. The blurb: A SHATTERED EMPIRE: The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead. A DARK LEGACY: Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized. A GATHERING STORM: Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat: The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

So, which one most floats your boat, or if you’ve read one of them, what did you think? Leave your answer in a comment, and I will announce winners on Sunday! These books, by the way, must be mailed media mail in the US and slow-boat-to-anywhere internationally because otherwise the postage costs would kill me. So be patient!

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

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