March ’21 Wrap Up

It’s hard to believe that March is here and gone already! April is already here, I’m writing this post just a litttttle late, and Spring is right around the corner (even though it snowed today in Pittsburgh whomp whomp whompppp). I am extremely ready for the warmer temperatures and hopefully a return to somewhat normalcy! I had an interesting reading month with some wins and some loses. Let’s dig into the books!

I kicked off the month with Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson. I have been a big Swanson fan for years! I absolutely loved The Kind Worth Killing and Her Every Fear. Eight Perfect Murders really left a lot to be desired. The overall plot felt extremely rushed and underdeveloped. It didn’t have the creative, unique suspense that I relate with Swanson. This was a shorter book and it just didn’t do anything for me. The plot could’ve been more detailed and built up a bit more. Everything felt very superficial. For me, I’d say pass on this one.

Once I wrapped that up, I moved on to Weird: The Power Of Being An Outsider In An Insider World by Olga Khazan. I picked this book up as an Audible deal of the Day. I got the email, read the synopsis and made the purchase. I really wish I would’ve done a little more research on this one before committing. I just wasn’t impressed with this book… at all. It was both the writing style and the content. The writing style bothered me because we followed several individuals but we didn’t hear their whole story consecutively. Instead we’d hear part 1 (of 5 or 6 total parts) about this person then part 1 about this other person. Then we might hear an unrelated story. Eventually we get into part 2 for all of these people we previously met. For me, I kept confusing some of the people and had a hard time keeping their stories straight. This lead to a slightly disorienting reading experience. The other part of this book that I wasn’t a fan of was some of the content. The issue here is that most of these people aren’t really “weird.” Instead they are weird because of how people judge them. Overall, very lackluster and I’d definitely say pass on this one too!

Finally, I rounded a corner and started to get into some bette reads! Next up I tackled Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. With the return / reboot of the Showtime series, I wanted to get back into the books before the show launches this Fall. Book 2 follows everyone’s favorite serial killer and his Dark Passenger as Dexter becomes a little more domesticated while still murdering and solving crimes. I think what I love most about this series is how both the TV show and the books are fantastic but have very different storylines (they basically share characters and plots, loosely). Relationships and character storylines are different but that really helps with engagement. I did find Dearly Devoted Dexter to be MUC gorier than the previous installment. The graphic nature of the main killer in this book was a little much for even me to handle! Overall though, still a very enjoyable and engaging read!

Lastly, I co-hosted Round 14 of Tome Topple and decided I wanted to finish The Dark Artifices series so I toppled Queen of Air And Darkness by Cassandra Clare. Holy crap was this book great! The Dark Artifices is hands down my favorite Shadowhunter series to date (I’ve heard great things about The Last Hours, but haven’t read that one yet). This finale had everything I wanted / needed. Like I’ve said for all the books in this series, they are extremely long but don’t feel extremely long! Queen of Air And Darkness came in at a little over 900 pages. The plot had so much action that you never felt bored or like the story was dragging. This book picks up immediately after the end of Lord of Shadows. The first 100 pages or so were a little on the slower / sadder side since everyone was still reeling from the events at the end of book 2. Once we get over that hump, the plot picks up and flies along at break neck speeds! I’m planning to read Tales of the Shadow Market soon so I can jump right into The Last Hours (this will be my first Clare series that I’ll be reading in “real time”).

Also, before I wrap up this post, I wanted to take a minute to promote Tome Topple. For those of you unfamiliar, Tome Topple is a read-a-thon that takes place multiple times per year and the concept is simple: Read books that are over 500 pages! Long books usually intimidate me, so I can use all the extra motivation possible to read them! I’ve been co-hosting the last few rounds (and will hopefully be co-hosting many more rounds in the future). If you’re looking for more information, check out my Round 14 announcement post here. Be sure to follow @Tome_Topple and @ItsMrGeekToYou on Twitter for more details about the next round!

How was your March? Did you read any books you just can’t help but recommend? Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking to grow my INSANELY long TBR!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

That’s A Wrap: Tome Topple, Round 14!

It literally feels like yesterday that Sam from Thoughts On Tome sent out the Voxer message announcing that Tome Topple Round 14 was going to take place in March. Like a bookish version of the Avengers, the co-hosts assembled and we all began planning for the read-a-thon!

Tome Topple is, hands down, one of my favorite read-a-thons. I don’t know about you, but I could always use a little extra incentive / motivation to read my really long books. As I was planning my TBR for March, I purposely added Queen Of Air And Darkness by Cassandra Clare to the list. I’ve been wanting to finish The Dark Artifices series for awhile now but was putting it off because 1) I wasn’t ready for the series to end and 2) this book was a beast, coming in at over 900 pages! Usually I attempt several of the reading prompts from the bingo card, but this time I decided to keep it simple – finish Queen Of Air And Darkness and I’d consider this round a win!

Tome Topple Round 14 “Bingo” Card

Overall, this was a very successful round for me! Week 1 of Tome Topple was relatively calm – I hosted quite a few reading sprints and made some nice progress in my tome. Week 2 was another story. Between work and my personal life, I had an extremely hectic week. When Friday rolled around I had about 400 or so pages left to read and the outlook was grim. Over the weekend, I hosted a few reading sprints (and participated as a spectator in a few as well). Yesterday was an absolutely miserable day here in Pittsburgh. It rained pretty steadily the entire day and it was the perfect excuse to stay home and read. I ended up knocking out the rest of my tome in the afternoon and enjoyed every minute of it! Cassandra Clare finales are just so well done that once you hit the tipping point, there’s no turning back! I read a lot of books to get to this point but it was worth the journey. I’m planning on starting The Scrolls of Magic and The Lost Hours series very soon (right after I read Tales From The Shadow Market).

Wrapping up this post, I want to thank all my fellow co-hosts: Sam (Thoughts On Tomes), Adri (Perpetual Pages), Sam 2 (Will Read For Booze), Gaia (Lalettricesegreta on IG), Tori (Tori Morrow) and Jocelyn (Yogi With A Book). I appreciate you welcoming me into this group and have thoroughly enjoyed co-hosting with each one of you. I’d also love to thank all the participants – my favorite part about co-hosting is socializing with all of you! Each reading sprint, you all were there to chat about books, current events and life. I hope to see you all back for Round 15 later this year! Please don’t be a stranger – I talk books here on the blog and also @ItsMrGeekToYou on Twitter!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Tome Topple Round 14 Announcement!

Well, the cat is officially out of the bag – Tome Topple Round 14 begins in a couple short weeks (March 15-28). For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tome Topple, the premise is simple: Read those chunky, 500+ page books! Tome Topple was created by Sam over at Thoughts On Tomes (her content is excellent and you should absolutely check her out, if you haven’t already)! Back in 2019, I started researching read-a-thons and Tome Topple frequently popped up. I’ve always tended to stray away from really long books (partially because I feel like I never “make progress” and partially because I feel like some books are unnecessarily long / start to get boring). I wasn’t sure if this would really enjoy it or not and decided to just watch Tome Topple from a distance. Note to past self: You’re an idiot sandwich. It was a book-related event, of course you would enjoy it!

A live look at me “watching Tome Topple from a distance” in 2019

When the pandemic set in last year, I decided I might as well commit to a round of Tome Topple. I joined for Round 11 and had an absolutely blast BUT… it was an EPIC failure. I didn’t even get through a whole book in that 2 weeks! After that, I worked out a strategy of how I needed to approach the read-a-thon. I came back for Round 12 and did much, much better – I selected a book I was excited about and plowed right through it! In Round 13, I reached out to Sam and joined Tome Topple as a co-host! This co-host experience was absolutely a highlight of 2020 (which was a tough year for all of us). All of the co-hosts are kick ass people and really work hard to make this read-a-thon fun and enjoyable for everyone! Round 14 is coming up and I’m happy to say I’m back to co-host again! Before I get into the reading challenges for this round, I’d like to introduce my other fellow co-hosts! This is such a friendly, dedicated and awesome group of people!

The infamous “Non-Bingo” board is back to help everyone keep track of their reading challenges. As a reminder, there is no “bingo,” this is just a convenient way to track all of the reading prompts!

Round 14’s reading prompts are as follows:

  • The tome that has been on your TBR the longest
  • A tome audiobook
  • Tome with the most pages
  • Seasonal colored tome (for spring or autumn)
  • Read 1 tome
  • A tome written by a BIPOC author
  • Tome from a genre you don’t usually read
  • Tome in a series you haven’t read for a while
  • A tome you started during another round of Tome Topple

The last order of business, my TBR for Round 14! My main objective is to start and finish Queen of Air & Darkness by Cassandra Clare. This is the third and final installment in The Dark Artifices trilogy. Without a doubt, The Dark Artifices has been my favorite series by Cassandra Clare to date. From the first chapter of Lady Midnight, I was hooked! These are all pretty lengthy novels but they don’t feel long which proves just how addicting they are! I haven’t start The Lost Hours series yet but I’ve heard really positive things about this books as well (and feel like they have potential to take over the title of favorite Shadowhunter series)! If I’m able to knock out Queen of Air & Darkness, I’ll consider this round a win! If I have time to start another book, I’ll probably pick either Winter by Marissa Meyer or Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.

Are you planning to participate in Tome Topple? What’s your upcoming TBR look like? Need help selecting what to read? Leave me a comment – I love to chat about books! Definitely make sure you’re subscribed to my blog and following @Tome_Topple / @ItsMrGeekToYou on Twitter for all your read-a-thon updates!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

March ’21 TBR

2021 is moving at an uncomfortably fast pace. Truth be told, I am still processing LAST March when the pandemic really start to begin. My company had us begin working from home on March 16th, so that’s also coming up on its 1 year anniversary already (which is hard for me to believe). About this time last year, I really started to struggle to find my reading groove. There were so many unknowns and I just couldn’t focus on what I was reading (or really anything, if I’m being honest). I’m happy to say that I am in a much better spot, mentally, this year and have been absolutely crushing my reading so far! I have a fun and reasonable TBR planned for March, so let’s dive into the books!

I’m going to be tackling some short-ish books to start off the month because I want to be able to promptly start off Tome Topple Round 14 whenever it kicks off (more on that later). My first book I’m reading Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson. I’ve been a Swanson fan since The Kind Worth Killing. The plot of this book sounds like it’s going to be a fast-paced thrill ride. A local book store owner creates a list of the top 8 most unsolvable murders of the mystery genre. Soon after, the FBI show up and start asking questions. Apparently there’s a copycat murderer on the loose who’s killing individuals that follow the list! Next up, will be Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. Since Dexter is getting a reboot later this year, I wanted to pick back up the series and revisit this world. Dearly Devoted Dexter is the second book in the series and continues to extend the story from book one (Darkly Dreaming Dexter). Depending on how much time I have left, I might also try to squeeze in Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi. Destroy Me is the first novella in the Shatter Me series and takes place between books one and two. I’d like to try to read at least the first half of this series this year (maybe I’ll get adventurous and read the entire thing). It’s funny, I was just talking tonight about how I need to get better about committing to reading series in a timely fashion. In the past, I’ve never enjoyed binge reading series but I think I am going to take another shot at that this year.

All of these shorter books are to position me well to start Tome Topple on time. I am happy to announce that I’ll be back as a co-host for Round 14!! I have a formal announcement post coming later this week with all the details for this round, including my TBR and all of the reading prompts! Be sure to check back!!

March is sure to be a fun month and I’m looking forward to all the books I have planned! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What did you think? Are you a Dexter fan? Excited about the reboot coming this Fall? As always, I love chatting with you so please sure to leave a comment or tweet me @ItsMrGeekToYou on Twitter!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

February ’21 Wrap Up: BHM Edition

I can’t believe February is already here and gone! This was an extremely busy month for me but I still managed to get in A LOT of great books! Similar to what I did back in October (created a Spooky TBR, if you’re interested the post can be found here), I challenged myself to assemble an entire TBR that was written by POC authors and had POC main characters. This was one of the best and most impactful reading experiences I have ever had. I deviated a little from the list of books I originally decided on, but that was a strategic shift about halfway through the month. Let’s dive into the books and discuss them a little further!

I got off on a somewhat delayed start because I wasn’t finished with my then current read (The Midnight Library) on February 1st. I’ve owned The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas for a couple of years now and thought now was the perfect time to finally read it. The Hate U Give was emotional, moving, insightful and heartbreaking all at the same time. The story focuses Starr, our main character, witnessing a police officer wrongly shooting (and killing) her unarmed black friend during a traffic stop. The plot then grows from there, discussing racial issues, the court hearing and family dynamics. I don’t typically read contemporary books or a lot of non-fiction. While The Hate U Give is a fictional story, unfortunately, it could easily be based on true events. While this was a difficult book to read, I am grateful for the experience and the additional perspective it provided.

Next up, I read The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin. This was an amazing, engrossing, WEIRD book and I loved every minute of it. The premise was simple: When cities grow large enough, they are “born” and individuals take on the roles of “avatars” for each of the relevant boroughs. Everything about this story was unique and creative – I’ve never read anything like this before. The novel takes place in New York City at the cusp of its birth. Each of its five boroughs (Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island) are awoken in a person from each area. Jemisin does an amazing job with the characterization for each person. They all have a distinct voice and I never found myself accidentally mixing up two characters. While this is an urban fantasy book, there were several racial issues incorporated into the story. I don’t want to go too much more into the plot because part of the fun are the surprises as you get further into the book! If this sound at all interesting, I’d encourage you to give it a try!

At this point, I decided to pivot a bit. My next two books I had queued up were either Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi or A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne Brown. I wanted to pick up another contemporary book that dealt with more current day issues. For that reason, I opted for Dear Martin by Nic Stone. Dear Martin falls into a similar vein to The Hate U Give. It follows the main character, Justyce McAllister. Justyce goes to a primarily white school and within the first few pages is wrongly arrested by police. From that moment on, he begins writing letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Justyce discusses various race issues and other struggles he experiences throughout the novel (and there are quite a few – things really escalate later in the book). I found the letters to be such a noteworthy addition, that really added depth to this novel. Similar to The Hate U Give, Dear Martin is a fictional story that could easily be non-fiction. Unfortunately, the events in this book are a little too common in today’s world. My only problem with this story was that it felt slightly rushed. There were so many relationships and concepts that I would’ve loved to have seen fleshed out a little more. This also wasn’t a very long book, coming in at around 225 pages, so there was definitely room for this story to grow.

This was not an easy reading month for me but these books are gave me an incredible amount of perspective. The stories were emotional, engaging, poignant and raw. While I’m sure some of the elements included in each of these book was sensationalized, they still addressed many important issues facing the African American communities head-on. I’m thankful that I decided to take on this reading challenge and learned so much from this experience. If you’re reading this post, I’d like to challenge you to pick up one of the books I mentioned in this post (especially The Hate U Give or Dear Martin). If you have a questions about any of these novels, feel free to leave a comment. I’ll do my best to answer and love chatting with you all about books.

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

February ’21 Black History Month TBR

I’ve always loved the idea of a “themed” reading list but I never really committed to trying it. Back in October of last year I decided to fully embrace “Spooky SZN” and read nothing but horror books to get me in the mood for Halloween. It was a great experience – I got into a nice groove, whipped through some excellent reads and really enjoyed it.

I decided to give this reading theme a try for Black History Month (#BHM). Last year, during all of the Black Lives Matter protests, a lot of bloggers / BookTubers were encouraging the reading community to read books by people of color. For me, race and gender are not two traits I typically think about when selecting a book. Basically, if the ploy sounds good, I add it to my TBR. I decided to make my entire February TBR decided to authors of color and I have assembled a GREAT list of books! If you’re not sure what to read next, hopefully my selections will inspire you! Now, let’s get onto the books!

Kicking off the month, I’ll be reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I feel like this book was EVERYWHERE a few years when it was first released (and they made it into a movie, which I picked up over the Holidays to watch after I finish the book). The plot focuses on a young girl (Starr Carter) who witnesses her best friend get shot and killed at the hands of a police officer. The story makes national headlines and things begin to spiral from there. I’ve heard nothing by praise for this novel and I’m hoping it’s a strong start to the month.

Next up, I’ll be reading The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin. The plot of this one is pretty vague but essentially cities are “born.” Whenever this process happens, individuals within the city come to life. The main focus here is New York City and as it’s born, each of its boroughs comes to life and is characterized by a certain person. I’ve heard this is an extremely unique and engaging read. This will also be my first book by N. K. Jemisin. I’ve also heard great things about how other series and writing style, I think she has potential to become one of my new favorite authors.

After that, I’ll be picking up A Song Of Wraiths & Ruin by Roseanne Brown. This was another really popular book earlier this. I’ve seen it features on several YouTube channels and all over Twitter. I believe this also has multiple POVs, which is one of my favorite writing styles (when done right). From what I’ve heard so far, the plot focuses on a princess (Karina) trying to resurrect her mother who was recently assassinated and an assassin (Malik) who’s trying to kill Karina. I believe this also includes some sort of competition (which I am a sucker for).

Rounding out the month will be Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. This is the first book in the Legacy of Orisha trilogy. It follows our main character Zelie, who lives in a world that no longer has magic. It has been trampled out by their ruthless King. When Zelie is given the chance to bring back magic and strike down the monarch, she must decide what her future holds.

This is a father aggressive TBR but I’m feeling good about all of these books! Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? What did you think? Be sure to follow me here or on Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou) for updates on my reading journey!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

January ’21 Recap

Well, it’s hard to believe that January is already over! I can’t believe how fast this month flew by. Unfortunately, 2021 still is looking a lot like 2020, but hopefully we’ll be on the upswing in the next few months! I had a relatively good reading month and managed to finish 4 books this month (and completely blew up my planned TBR).

I kicked off the month reading Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. This is the second entry in the Dark Artifices series. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I absolutely loved Lady Midnight! It was hands down one of my favorite reads last year and probably my favorite Shadowhunter book to date. Lord of Shadows was also a great book! I got to rejoin all of the characters from Lady Midnight. This was also an incredibly fast paced book that flew by at breakneck speeds.

Next up I read Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline. I had seen a lot of questionable and negative reviews leading up to reading this. I won’t spend a lot of time rehashing those thoughts since I dedicated a whole blog post to those feelings already! Long story, short – I really enjoyed this a lot! It had a much strong pop culture trend this time around (vs the more video game centric first novel). If you are at ALL on the fence about giving this book a try – DO IT. I don’t think any of the negativity directed at this book is warranted at all.

I was planning on tackling Queen of Air & Darkness by Cassandra Clare next but decided to deviate and listen to Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo while also reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I managed to get an Amazon Kindle deal on The Midnight Library and have been DYING to read this since last year, so I had to read this ASAP! Everything is Figureoutable was a really great book to kick off January! Marie was the narrator and that really added another element of relatable. The content in this book wasn’t necessarily new or groundbreaking information but it was presented in a fun and engaging way. Marie’s stories and anecdotes really struck a chord with me. I also found most of the advice extremely applicable – like when you are stressing or worrying over a project or problem, the best way to get over that is action. Thinking back after hearing this, she is 100% right. I have always felt better when I took action on a problem I was facing. Hearing this feedback really just brought the whole concept together.

I am still in the process of finishing up The Midnight Library (but I’ll hopefully be finished by the time this post goes up). This is also another stellar read! Very life lesson-y and philosophical. One thing I’m not crazy about is how the novel romanticizes suicide a bit. I do really like the story, how it’s written and the overall life lesson, though. Probably leaning towards a 5 star read!

Wrapping up, I HIGHLY recommend all of the books included in this recap. I loved them all. I’ll be having a nice February TBR coming tomorrow that will be featuring my Black History Month reads, so be on the look out for that! If you enjoyed this post, take a look at my archive (I’ve written others like this) or follow me here / on Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou) for more reading updates!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Ready Player Two, A Rant

This was not a blog post that I was expecting to be writing! Ready Player Two was one of my most anticipated 2020 releases and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it… which I thought was going to be awhile since I wasn’t willing to pay $15 for the Kindle edition. After the book was released, it received less than stellar reviews from Bloggers, BookTubers and Reviewers. I was baffled by this backlash but the negativity didn’t impact my desire to read this book! Fast-forward to December. A couple of friends got me a copy of Ready Player Two for Christmas (as part of an AMAZING “retro” themed gift that perfectly aligned with the novel’s Pop Culture laden plot). I couldn’t wait to get started and decided it was going to be one of the first books I read in January! Now that the background has been established, let the rant begin…

I want to start off by saying: Get the F**K OFF ERNEST CLINE’S BACK. For the love of God. For probably a solid month I saw all these tweets, blog posts and BookTube videos that were completely TRASHING this book. I didn’t fully watch most of these for fear of spoilers, since I hadn’t read the book. The biggest complaints were about how “Wade changed and was no longer recognizable.” Ummmm, hello. Repeat after me, “That’s what happens when people suddenly come into an ass load of money.” This scenario is shown time and time again. People win a lot of money and become jerks. They fall out with their friends, they end up fighting with their families and they use their money as a crutch. Wade’s behavior early on in this book doesn’t surprise me the least! Mild spoilers: He does redeem himself.

The other feedback I’ve seen is how “unnecessary” (imagine me saying that in my most pretentious, condescending voice possible) this book is. Was this book necessary? Nope. Was it an insanely fun, pop-culture roller coaster that was completely entertaining? You bet your ass it was! I am an avid videogamer, so obviously I really connected with Ready Player One. Ready Player Two was chock full of pop culture references that were also enjoyable in a different way. The premise of this book revolved around collecting seven shard of the Siern’s Soul. I can already hear the naysayers… “But Mr Geekkkkkkk…. The FIRST book had a quest.” WELL NEWS FLASH – so can this one, it did and I loved it!

Now, don’t get me wrong, this book wasn’t perfect. The early chapters definitely dragged a bit to really establish the story while also giving the read a refresher on Ready Player One (which I appreciated, since I didn’t re-read it prior). Once the quest begins, things really start to flow. Overall, I was satisfied with the ending but it did have a quirky wrap up.

I feel so much better getting all of these feelings out. So. My advice to you, my dear reader, is that if you were / are interested in reading Ready Player Two, read Ready Player Two. To hell with what everyone else thinks. Give it a go, see what you think and judge the book for yourself. I’d also like to thank Mollie and Christi for gifting me a copy of Ready Player Two as part of an amazing Retro Christmas gift!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Happy New Year: 2021 Reading Goals, Blog Posts and My January TBR!

It’s currently New Year’s Eve and I just sat down to draft this post. I have a Moscow Mule in hand and I’m thinking back over what a roller coaster this year has been. This time last year, I was full of hope, optimism and excitement about what the new year was going to hold. I had an extremely rocky 2019 and was hoping 2020 was going to be that fresh start and reset that I so desperately needed. Despite this year being a complete dumpster fire from basically start to finish, about halfway through the year I decided I still wanted to end the year strong. I started this blog, picked up several new hobbies and began planning to make 2021 my year. Now that 2021 is here, I thought it only appropriate to discuss some of my reading goals, hopes for this blog and my January TBR! But first, a commemorative photo for us all to remember 2020.

To kick things off, I wanted to talk about my reading goals. One positive thing that came out of 2020 was that I learned I like to make a monthly TBR. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise because I have always been a “list” guy. I love making a list and crossing it off. I think I’ve always avoided this in the past because I tend to be more of a “mood reader.” I enjoy picking out book more in the moment than deciding before hand. By creating monthly TBRs, it helped organize me and keep me on track. As I’m looking into 2021, I’m going to continue this trend. I’m also going to prioritize several books / series that I have been meaning to read or finish and just never get there:

  • The Lunar Chronicles (Only need to finish Winter)
  • The Mistborn Series (At least books 1-3)
  • The Dark Artifices Trilogy (Need to finish books 2 & 3)
  • The Daevabad Trilogy
  • The Locked Tomb Trilogy
  • The Last Hours Trilogy
  • A Court of Thorns & Roses Series
  • The Glass Throne Series
  • The Nevernight Chronicles
  • The Great Library Series
  • The Witchlands Series
  • The Monsters of Verity Duology
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • His Dark Materials Trilogy
  • The Farseer Trilogy

I know most, if not all, of the books included in this list will be incredible so I’m really looking forward to diving in! I’ll be setting my GoodReads reading goal in the next week or so and I’m thinking that I might stick with my 35 book goal again. I am planning to read some long books this year and want to make sure reading remains a fun activity and doesn’t become a chore!

As I read away the days, I’m planning to post here A LOT more often. This might come in the form of quick updates or more formalized, planned posts (like “Thoughts I had while reading Twilight,” really looking forward to this one). I love reading and want to create fun, enjoyable content that is unapologetically mine. I hope you’ll consider subscribing or following me on Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou) to enjoy all of the updates I’ll be sharing in 2021!

Last, but most definitely not least, my January TBR! I’ve already got a tiny head start on because I started reading Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. This is the second installment in the Dark Artifices trilogy. I was a HUGE fan of Lady Midnight and I’m already enjoying Lord of Shadows. Once this is complete, I’m planning to move onto Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline. Then I’ll be jumping back into the Shadowhunter World with Queen of Air & Darkness by Cassandra Clare. These are some pretty chunky books, so I’m not expecting to get much else read this month but if I have time for one more book, it’ll probably be Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I’ve never read Twilight (but I think I saw some of the movie once). I’ve never been a fan and have always wanted to do a “Thoughts I Had While Reading…” post, this seemed like the perfect opportunity! If I can’t fit in for January, I’ll probably postpone until March (I’m planning an Authors of Color TBR for February and Black History Month – more on that later)!

Here’s to an incredible 2021 filled with excitement, health and adventures. What are your plans for 2021? Reading goals? New Year’s Resolutions? Have any read anything that I want to read? What are your thoughts? Comment below, I love to talk books!

Happy New Year and Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Top 5 Favorite Books of 2020

Earlier this week, I talked about my Top 5 Biggest Book Disappointments of 2020. I specifically decided to call out BOOK disappointments, because otherwise the entire year would’ve been featured on that list!

Just me trying to make it through 2020 in one piece…

I really shouldn’t complain. While this was a total dumpster fire of a year, I did get a chance to read a ton of great books! When the pandemic first began, I really struggled to settle into a new routine and adjust to this “new normal.” My reading definitely took a nose-dive because I just couldn’t focus on my books with everything happening in the world. Thankfully, by the Summer months I got myself back on track! Deciding which books to feature here really was a challenge! I’m going to keep the summaries short but I’ve included a blurb about what my this book so great (in my opinion). After that long intro, it’s time to talk great books!! (My list will be in my reading chronological order through the year, starting January to December).

Kicking off this list is Oona Out Of Order by Margarita Montimore! What an absolute joy and refreshing deviation from my standard genres! This was a story about a woman who, starting on her 19th birthday, begins living her life out of order. Each birthday she time hops to a different age, 19 – 54 – 37 – 78. What really made this a memorable reading experience were the life lessons and fantastic quotes sprinkled throughout this novel. Each year Oona lives teaches her something which I found to be interesting and applicable to my life. Montimore also had some truly noteworthy quotes, my favorite being: All good things end, always. The trick is to enjoy them while they last. As I look into 2021, this is something that’s going to stick with me. Savor these enjoyable moments because you never know how long that are going to last.

Next up we have House In The Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune. A good friend of mine recommended this book to me and I am so glad she did! Cerulean Sea is the story of a social work name Linus, who handles orphanages for “special children.” One day Linus gets a high-priority assignment and is asked to travel to a very… unique… orphanage. There he meets an eclectic group of people that turn his entire life upside down. Each of the children has a very distinct personality that adds so much charm and dimension to the story. To put it simply, this book is perfection. While this was a work of fiction, Klune does an incredible job weaving in relevant parallels to what’s happening in today’s world (like prejudice and discrimination). If you’re looking for a feel-good story, look no further than The House In The Cerulean Sea!

Starting last year, I decided I wanted to read all of the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. I started off strong, reading The Mortal Instruments trilogy (Part 1, Books 1 – 3), The Infernal Devices trilogy and started The Mortal Instruments Part 2 (Book #4, City of Fallen Angels). This year, I finished off the last 2 books in part 2 of The Mortal Instruments, the supplemental short story bind ups and moved onto The Dark Artifices. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare was my favorite entry in this world to date. The writing was engaging and the plot centered around a mystery. It was a wild ride from the first page to the very last! What really cemented this book’s spot on my Top 5 list was the fact that it was nearly 700 and it didn’t feel nearly that long. The story was meaningful and there wasn’t fluff or filler. I’m currently reading Lord of Shadows and I’m anxious to see where the story goes from here!

My next book, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, was a bit of a toss up. I was conflicted including this because it has already received SO much praise this year already. If you haven’t heard of this book (first of all, where have you been?), it’s the story of Adeline LaRue who makes a deal with a Dark God to change her fate and have the life she always dreamed of. The catch? As soon as Addie leaves your vision, you forget her… until she finally meets someone who remembers. Similar to Oona Out Of Order, Addie LaRue is not my typical genre of book but I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was an epic story, that needed to be told, and Schwab crafted it would masterful precision. I was nervous about how this was all going to wrap up but the ending was utter perfection. It was a great culmination to a fantastic tale

Finally, rounding out this list is, Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman. This was one of the last books I read this year and I ENJOYED IT. I’ve read several of Bachman’s other works (A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry). Both of these novels were wonderful and definitely tugged a bit at the heartstrings. I went into Anxious People expecting a lighthearted and funny story about a bank robbery gone wrong. This wasn’t quite what I got. The novel had a much more serious and somber tone since suicide plays a large role in the plot. There was a large cast of characters but Bachman did a great job giving each one a distinct voice so you never mixed them up. While suicide is at the center of the book, the story manages to be uplifting and center on healing. Give this one a whirl if you need a little optimism in your life.

I would like to cheat and add one final “Honorable Mention” which is Atomic Habits by Jame Clear. It’s really hard to put this book up against some of the incredible fiction I’ve previously mentioned but I had to still mention this book. I absolutely loved it and thought the advice was so applicable. Clear does a great job making the advice relatable and useful (as opposed to most of the other self-help / development books I’ve read). He’s easy to connect to and doesn’t come across as condescending. A MUST read if you’re looking to build new, or break existing, habits!

And there you have it! My Top 5 Favorite Books of 2020. While this year wasn’t quite exactly what I was hoping it would be, I learned a little and ended up reading a lot. I’m hopeful that 2021 will be the year we’ve all earned and deserve!

Have you read any of my favorites? What did you think? Any recommendations on “Must Read” books for 2021? Leave your favorites in the comments – let’s face it, my TBR is never going to shrink!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek