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

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

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

Tome Topple: Round 13 / November Recap

As I said in a previous tweet, October was FAST and November turned out to be even FASTER! How is that even possible!? I had an… interesting reading month filled with amazing books and very mediocre books. In total, I read 7 books this month and I’m still on track to hit my goal of 52 for the year! Not only did I get a lot of reading in, I also had the pleasure of co-hosting one of my favorite read-a-thons, Tome Topple (more on that later)!

As I previous mentioned, I read The Witches by Roald Dahl and The List by JA Konrath. Neither of these books were that amazing. The Witches was a rather morbid story but The List was quirky and entertaining. I really enjoy Konrath’s unique writing style. The plots are always inventive and I can’t help by get sucked into his stories!

After The List, I moved onto the masterpiece that is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab. This book was FANTASTIC and it was just what the doctor ordered! While this wasn’t my typical read, I relished in the world and story that Schwab created. The premise was awesome – to escape her destiny, Addie makes a deal with a “Dark God” to free herself. This deal comes at a cost, no one can remember Addie after they’ve left her presence. Addie lives for over 300 years, roaming the earth, stealing what she needs until one day she meets Henry… and Henry can remember her. For me personally, this book really took shape about halfway through when Addie meets Henry and the “adventure” really begins. The story flowed in such an amazing and poetic way. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, move it to the top of your TBR ASAP.

Rounding out the month, I read a couple self-help books. The Person You Mean To Be By Dolly Chugh and Atomic Habits by James Clear. Dolly Chugh was a featured speaker at a recent work event. I was able to hear her talk and was blown away by how personable and relatable she is. I decided to pick up her book, The Person You Mean To Be, on audiobook because she narrated it. I don’t want to “review” this book because the subject matter isn’t meant to be entertaining – it’s meant to be informative and challenge / stretch your views. Did I agree with all of the ideas presented in this book? Absolutely not. Did these views challenge my to think in different ways and looks at certain topics from a different angle? You bet. This is one of the only books on GoodReads I didn’t give a star rating to because I’d encourage everyone to pick this up and give it a try. After I finished Dolly’s book I moved onto Atomic Habits. Atomic Habits was HANDS DOWN one of the best self-help / development books I have ever read. Clear gives you real, actionable advices for helping you to start new habits or break bad ones. I think what I appreciated the most about his take on habits was very rarely did he make the book about him (i.e. I did this or I struggled to do this) and instead talked to principles and actuality. He was also extremely easy to relate to! I found myself taking notes on ways to implement these strategies in my everyday life (and New Year Resolutions are coming)! If you’re looking for ways to build better habits, give this book a try. I can confidently say you’ll find it extremely useful!

The last couple books I read this month were Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo and The Toll by Neal Schusterman. Clap When You Land was an interesting book and, again, not something that I typically pick up. The story is about two sisters, who don’t know they are sisters, until their father dies in a tragic plane crash. The story is told from each of the girls’ perspectives. Acevedo did an incredible job giving each of these characters a unique voice. There was small nuances and cultural influences that really shown through into each of the characters. My last book I finished was The Toll and that was ONE HECK OF A FINALE. I started the Arc of a Scythe trilogy on New Year’s Day of and made my way through all 3 books over the course of the year. Scythe and Thunderhead (books 1 and 2, respectively) were absolutely incredible. I heard iffy things about The Toll, so I subliminally pushed it off. While it was a little on the long side (there was definitely some fluff that couldn’t been cut out) I found the story to be interesting and engaging. There were some interesting twists sprinkled throughout and I found the ending to be pretty spot on. It wasn’t too perfect or cookie cutter and had just enough grit and uniqueness!

Tome Topple Wrap Up

I was incredibly lucky to help co-host Tome Topple Round 13. I had a blast leading reading sprints and talking books with all of the other readers participating in the read-a-thon. I have to hand it to Sam (from @ThoughtsOnTomes) and the rest of the co-hosts, they do an incredible job running things. I’ve participated in this read-a-thon several times before and never realized how much work goes into creating it! I work in eCommerce for a retailer, so the week of Thanksgiving was a little crazy for me. I ended up finishing my only tome (The Toll) on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Another round is scheduled for February-ish, so I am hoping to topple a few books during that round since life should be a lot calmer then!

We’re well into December, so I’ll be posting a TBR soon and then my year in review wrap up! Hope everyone is staying safe and I’ll back with another post this week!

Until we meet again,
Mr Geek

October ’20 Recap

It feels like just yesterday that I was writing my October TBR post and here we are, at the end of the month! October was a complete blur but it also gave me the much needed taste of normalcy that I’ve been wanting! I was able to finally reconnect with some friends and managed to take a couple little day trips. One of my other highlights this month was co-hosting Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon (but I’ll touch on that more later). I read some great books this month and some not-so-great books. Let’s dive in!

I kicked off October reading Pet Sematary by Stephen King. Everyone raves about this being one of King’s best books. While I thoroughly enjoyed it, I felt like I might’ve gone into this with a little too much hype. I found the story to be engrossing and atmospheric but the “horror” elements just didn’t really do it for me. The ending was a little too open for my tastes. I tend to a like a little more closure (unless there’s going to be a sequel). I also watched the original Pet Sematary movie from the 1980’s and the 2019 remake. Surprisingly, I like the 2019 remake more than the original. I felt that the small changes they made to the plot resulted in a better flow overall. After Pet Sematary, I grabbed Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell. This was a fall-themed, graphic novel that I scooped up for $3 on Kindle. I’m not really a graphic novel person, so this was really outside of my comfort zone but I really enjoyed it! The story follows the 2 main characters, Deja and Josiah, High School Seniors who have spent the last several years working together at a Pumpkin Patch. The story takes place during their last night working together before the patch closes for the year (and they head off to college the following Fall). This was a light hearted story and a nice break from my more scary reads.

My month started off strong and then I hit a rough patch which came in the form of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Garcia-Moreno and The Shadows by Alex North. I really enjoyed the first 50 pages (or so) of Mexican Gothic. I was intrigued by the story and was captivated initially but the story sort of bottomed out after that. It turned into an epic slough-fest until the last ~100 pages. At that point, everything started to come together but it was too little, too late for me. While I was reading Mexican Gothic, I also decided to listen to The Shadows by Alex North. Last year, I read his debut, The Whisper Man, which I enjoyed. There were some paranormal elements at the end that were a little cringey and I didn’t love. I almost had the opposite problem with The Shadows, the pacing seemed way too fast and I didn’t really get how everything came together. The overall plot felt a little rushed and, not being an extremely long book, I think it could’ve used another 50 pages to flesh out the plot and really pull everything together. I did enjoy the twist towards the end. It was unexpected and meshed nicely with the overall theme of the book.

As I slid into the latter half of the month, news broke that Showtime was going to be revising the Dexter TV series, bringing it back in the Fall of 2021 for one more additional season. I was a HUGE Dexter fan but the series finale in 2013 really left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I started the books but never pursued them further than the first book. Once I heard they were bringing Dexter back, I thought what better way to continue my reading theme than with a re-read of Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. I opted for the audiobook, since I originally read this… probably 10 years ago. It was a nice refresher and I’m definitely going to continue the book series now to help prepare for the TV premiere next year!

This past week, I read City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. It. Was. Fantastic! I love Victoria Schwab’s writing so much and have no idea why I put this off as long as I did. The story was entertaining, engaging and eerie. The story revolves around a teenager, Cassidy Blake, who has a near-death experience that results in her being able to see ghosts. I tore through this book and couldn’t put it down (literally finished it minutes before starting to write this post). It’s Halloween, so I thought what better way to end the month than by reading The Witches by Roald Dahl. This book is extremely short and I’m hoping to knock it out today (I’ll be starting that shortly after finishing this post). HBO Max recently released a movie version of The Witches and I thought it would be worth giving it a quick re-read before watching the movie (I probably read this 25 years ago… queue feeling old).

Overall, I had a VERY successful reading month. I’m still on track to hit 52 books by the end of the year. I needed to read at least 6 this month and I’ve read 7 (if I include The Witches). I also have an audiobook currently in progress that I’ll probably finish in the next couple of days and another book that I started back in April and just can’t motivate myself to finish (The Shadowhunter’s Codex, it’s a supplement book to Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Chronicles – it reads like a textbook and isn’t required to understand any of her other books). I’ve already been thinking about what books I want to read for November and have a nice TBR already set! Stop back tomorrow to check out that post!

How was your October? Read any good books or have thoughts / questions about my reads? Do any fun, non-book related activities? Leave me a comment – you know how much I love to chat!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

October ’20 TBR

It’s finally October and that means “Spooky SZN” is upon us! The weather is FINALLY starting to cool off in the northeast and all of the Autumn flavors are in full swing (I’m looking at you Pumpkin Spice and Apple). I typically don’t set a book “theme” for the month but I decided to give that a try for October. Since Halloween will be coming up, I thought this would be the perfect time to break out all of my horror / spooky books to binge all month long! I’m still on track to hit my stretch goal of 52 books by the end of the year. If I want to hit this goal, I need to read at least 6 books each month in October, November and December. I’ve set an aggressive TBR for October so, without further ado, let’s jump into the books!

I’m going to kick the month off with a classic horror story, Pet Semetary by Stephen King. I haven’t read many books by King but this seems to be a favorite! I actually don’t know a ton about this story other than there is some sort of cursed land that has the power to bring whatever is buried there back to life… but not quite the same. I actually have a paperback of this and will be listen to some of the audiobook. The audiobook is narrated by Michael C. Hall and it has received rave reviews. After Pet Semetary, I’m going to move on to Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Mexican Gothic has been described as a horror-thriller that seems to be right up my alley. When Noemi received a mysterious letter from her cousin, beginning someone to come save her from impending doom, she sets off to the High Place to investigate. Noemi is better suited for dresses and dinner parties than as a rescue but that won’t stop her. As Noemi dig deeper and deeper, she soon discovers a history of violence and madness that might be impossible to escape.

I’ve always been a big fan of Victoria Schwab and now seems like the perfect time to read City of Ghosts. Meet Cassidy Blake, an In-Between who can communicate with ghosts. When Cass meets Lara, a fellow In-Between, she explains that it’s Cass’ responsibility to send ghosts permanently across The Veil. When the Red Raven begins terrorizing her city, she quickly realizes it isn’t meant for this world. She’s soon pulled into an epic fight that stretches across the worlds of the living and the dead. I am purposely saving Home Before Dark by Riley Sager for closer to Halloween. This “haunted house” book seems like the perfect read as Halloween approaches! When Maggie Holt, a restorer of old homes, inherits her family home, she returns to restore it so it can be properly sold. Maggie is too young to remember the horror’s mentioned in her father’s book. Soon she begins experience strange occurrences, that seem to be right out of her father’s book. It’s up to Maggie to find out what secrets are within these walls before it’s too late!

In addition to these physical books, I’m also going to try to knock out 2 audiobooks. My first audiobook will be The Shadows by Alex North. The Shadows is the follow-up to North’s debut, The Whisper Man (which I read last year). The premise of this one sounds great and has a lot of promise. Paul Adams remembers the dark, imaginative and gruesome murder committed by Charlie Crabtree when he was a teenager. After the murder was committed, Crabtree disappeared and was never found. Fast-Forward 25 years later and a copycat killer has struck. As tensions rise around town, Paul can feel the past slowly starting to seep into the present. I haven’t decided on which audiobook I’ll read next. I have a couple Stephen King books queued up (Misery and If It Bleeds) and a couple by one of my favorite more niche authors, J.A. Konrath (Origin and The List). This last pick will definitely be based on my mood and whatever I’m feeling in the moment.

Hopefully I’m able to conquer this TBR and then some! What do you have planned for this month? Are you going to read anything creepy to celebrate Halloween? Leave me a comment, tweet me or add me on GoodReads (@ItsMrGeekToYou on both sites).

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Book Review: Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker

I have always been a fan of the thriller / suspense genre. I love starting a new mystery novel and immediately becoming immersed in the plot! Last year, while browsing around Amazon, I came across a recently released book (The Night Before) by an author I had never heard of (Wendy Walker). As soon as I read the synopsis I knew I had to add it to my TBR! Here’s my quick take for those who haven’t read or heard of this book: Lauren Lochner has never had much success in the romance department. After her latest failed relationship, she decides to give up her Wall Street job, and New York City lifestyle, to move in with her sister, Rosie, back in Connecticut where they grew up. Lauren struggles to find her new normal and decides to give dating another try. This seems like the perfect reset for Lauren…. until she doesn’t return home from her date the next morning. As panic begins to build, and Rosie desperately tries to locate her sister, she realizes she’s not worried that something happen to Lauren, but what Lauren might have done to her date. This book was fantastic, inventive and I could not put it down! If you’re interested in picking up a copy or learning more, view The Night Before on Amazon.

Shortly after I read The Night Before, St Martin’s Press reached out to me offering an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Walker’s newest book, Don’t Look For Me. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew this book would be right up my alley and jumped on the offer! Don’t Look For Me was a brilliant, nerve-wracking, thrill-ride from the first page to the last.

Here’s my quick, spoiler-free summary: Have you ever wanted to just pick-up, leave your life behind and start over somewhere new? Well that’s exactly what Molly Clarke wanted. After the death of one of her children, Molly’s life is shattered and her family is broken. She’s desperate to disappear and never be found, it’s the only way she can deal with her grief and hopefully help her family heal. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when Molly goes missing one night during a terrible storm. Days later a note is found at a local casino, along with some of her clothing, saying that she is moving over and “don’t look for me.” Is this Molly’s chance to start over or is there more to this story than meets the eye?

Review: I freaking loved this book. To start, I love when a book is written with multiple POVs or alternating timelines. “Don’t Look For Me” alternates between present day and the night Molly disappears. Walker did such a great job here. Each timeline was interesting, compelling and I was never bored with the story. I looked forward to each “switch” because I knew I was getting more details to help my unravel what happened the night Molly went missing. I found the characters to be fascinating and I liked the subtle theme of redemption that was threaded throughout the novel. The further you get into this book, the deeper and more intriguing the mystery becomes. As I hit the last ~100 pages, I felt like I was on a runaway train and sat glued to the couch until I read the final page. Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable and well-written thriller. If you haven’t read a Wendy Walker book, do yourself a favor and pick up either: The Night Before or Don’t Look For Me (Release Date: September 15, 2020). If you do purchase a copy, please consider using the affiliate links in this blog post – I’ll receive a small commission and there’s no charge to you!

A HUGE thank you to St Martin’s Press for providing this advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

Are you a fan of thrillers? What are some of your favorites? Have you also read one of Wendy’s books? What did you think? Leave me a comment or tweet me (@ItsMrGeekToYou)!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

PS – Are we friends on GoodReads? Add me: ItsMrGeekToYou

September 2020 TBR

September is finally upon us and you know what that means! Fall is right around the corner along with chilly evenings, pumpkin-or-apple-flavored-everything and more time to spend indoors reading! This has been such a weird year for me, as I’m sure it has been for everyone, and I’m really hoping to get myself back on track. I’ve struggled to read as much as I normally do (lack of focus during this pandemic) and I just haven’t been able to accomplish as much as I hoped. As we enter the last few months of 2020, I’ve set a few short term goals for myself and one of those is to hit my original stretch reading goal of 52 books. That will require me to read ~6 books per month which I actually think is doable. I’m aiming to read 1 book/week and 2 audiobooks/month. To help my achieve this goal, I’m going to be setting TBRs for myself at the beginning of each month.

I already have a few books in progress that I am hoping to finish over the long weekend / next week. I received an ARC of Wendy Walker’s new book, Don’t Look For Me. I started this last weekend and am LOVING it. I took a small break from the thriller genre but this is really hitting the spot. After Molly Clarke’s life is turned upside down by tragedy and a broken family, she decides to abandon her life and start over… or does she? I’ll be absolutely reviewing this book once I finish. I read The Night Before last year and really, really enjoyed it. If you’re a fan of the thriller genre, I’d recommend picking that up as well! It’s about a first date gone wrong – I’m sure we can all relate to that but mayyyyyyyyyyyyyybe not to this extent! I am also struggling through The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare. For how much I love the Shadowhunter books and that universe, this has been a challenge to get through. It reads very much like a textbook. While the information is interesting and helps build a more complete world, it’s definitely on the dry/boring side. The last book I have in progress is an audiobook, Bossypants by Tina Fey. I read Bossypants back when it first came out in 2011. I am a HUGE Tina Fey fan but thought her book was mediocre at best. Recently, I was chatting with a coworker and Bossypants came up. When she found out I wasn’t really a fan, she recommended the audiobook. I was able to scoop it up, on sale, from the Apple Books store. Tina narrates the book and it makes it so much more enjoyable!

Now that we’ve covered what I have in-flight, moving on to what’s next! Since I’ve been enjoying Don’t Look For Me so much, I thought I’d pick up another thriller: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin. I read Goldin’s debut The Escape Room earlier this year and absolutely loved it. If you’re looking for a sophisticated literary experience, move along. If you want a twisty, bizarre and thoroughly entertaining thriller, definitely pick this up. I am a HUGE fan of cheesy horror / thriller movies and this was definitely right up my alley. I am also thinking about picking up The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson. I read Truly, Devious earlier this year. I liked it but didn’t love it. Personally, I felt like I was reading 1/3 of a book. There wasn’t much resolution and it seemed like I had more questions than answers by the end of the book. I’ve heard that the as you progress through the series, everything gets woven together nicely. The last couple books on my list are The Last Flight by Julie Clark and Camino Winds by John Grisham. To be honest, I don’t really know much about either of these books. I’ve seen The Last Flight on several “Books That I Couldn’t Put Down” lists – so it seems like something I’ll enjoy. I read Camino Island a couple years ago and enjoyed it. I think, in the moment, I would’ve enjoyed it more knowing that the story was going to continue. It was left very open ended and I just didn’t love that (again, knowing a sequel was coming would’ve changed that opinion a bit).

So that’s my proposed TBR for September. I might sub in a couple depending on my mood. I’ve already started working on what I want to read in October and have some great spooky / horror reads queued up! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What did you think? What are you planning to read in September? Let me know in the comments or Tweet me @ItsMrGeekToYou!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Tome Topple Round 12: Wrap Up

Well friends, another round of Tome Topple is in the books! I had, what I’m considering, a very successful round. I was about to read over 1,000 pages in this 2-week duration. Unfortunately, I had a pretty busy week 2 and also took a long weekend trip out of town (which really cut into my reading time but provided some MUCH NEEDED R&R).

The first book I tackled was quite the chunker: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. This clocked in at around 700 pages and was a freaking phenomenal book. Lady Midnight is the first entry in the Dark Artifices series. I honestly can’t say enough good things about this book! From the first page to the last I was completely hooked. Even though this was a longer book, the pages flew by. Not once did I find myself bored or flipping ahead to see how much was left. I felt the connected to the characters and the plot really sucked me in! Hands down a 5 out of 5 stars read! If you haven’t read the Shadowhunter Chronicles, but are interested in starting, stay tuned – I’m working on a post outlining how to enter this world!

The next book I started, but didn’t quite finish was Muse of Nightmares by Liani Taylor. Holy. Shit. I have been sleeping on this book for a good year and am so angry at myself for not reading it sooner! I’m finally getting around to writing this post about a week after Tome Topple has ended and I just finished Muse today. This booked completely lived up to my expectations (and I’ll be writing a fully review soon, so check back for that). Taylor’s writing is so poetic and lyrical – it’s really a joy to read. I found the plot to be completely engrossing and I absolutely loved revisiting some of previous characters from Strange the Dreamer, in addition to meeting some new ones! Everything about this book was perfect and I can’t wait to rave about it more in my review post!

It looks like we’ll be squeezing in one more Tome Topple this year (I think in November). There were many more read-a-thons this year than normal due to the pandemic. I feel like I’m finally getting myself back to a good spot in my reading and am able to enjoy my books again. I’ve also been on a great streak here of reading excellent books! Did you participate in Tome Topple? If so, what did you read? Any reading suggestions for me for the next round? Leave me a comment or tweet me @ItsMrGeekToYou.

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Author Spotlight: Christopher Moore

I have been an avid Christopher Moore fan for years! Back when I was in college, I had a friend who worked at Borders (RIP) and stumbled upon one of Moore’s books, Lamb, during her shift. After she read the book, she immediately recommended it to me. The plot sounded interesting, so I ran out and picked up a copy. From the first few pages, I loved the witty, zany, engaging writing style and knew this wasn’t going to be my last Christopher Moore book.

After I finished Lamb, I started to branch out into Moore’s other works. His writing style is effortless and so easy to connect with. The tales are lighthearted and will have you laughing out loud as you ravenously consume each book. If you’re looking for a nice distraction to help lighten you up (especially given the current state of the world), his books are the comical oasis you’re looking for! To this day, I haven’t read one of his books that I didn’t like (and I’ve read almost all of them). Have a liked some more than others? Of course, but that’s only to be expected!

Personally, I love reading a story that’s told from multiple perspectives and Moore has nearly perfected this writing mechanic (in a couple different ways). In his “Pine Cove” “series” (I say “series” because the books aren’t really connected but do take place in the same location; These books are: Practical Demonkeeping, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove and The Stupidest Angel), the perspective continuously alternates between characters. I love how each character has their own distinct/unique voice and you can clearly tell who’s perspective you’re reading from. Additionally, while almost all of Moore’s books are standalone, sometimes characters will make cameos in other stories. I love these little “easter eggs” and am always on the look out while reading!

Hopefully by this point, I’ve piqued your interest and you’re looking to pick up one of Moore’s books but, with so many options, where do you begin? Have no fear, I’m here to help! Like I previously mentioned, most of Moore’s books are standalone, so you can go into each book fresh and the story resolves by the end. Below are a few short Amazon summaries for some of my favorites and I’ve also included a link to his Amazon author page here, if you’d like to check out all of his works:

Blood Sucking Fiends

Jody never asked to become a vampire. But when she wakes up under an alley Dumpster with a badly burned arm, an aching back, superhuman strength, and a distinctly Nosferatuan thirst, she realizes the decision has been made for her.

Making the transition from the nine-to-five grind to an eternity of nocturnal prowlings is going to take some doing, however, and that’s where C. Thomas Flood fits in. A would-be Kerouac from Incontinence, Indiana, Tommy (to his friends) is biding his time night-clerking and frozen-turkey bowling in a San Francisco Safeway. But all that changes when a beautiful undead redhead walks through the door…and proceeds to rock Tommy’s life—and afterlife—in ways he never thought possible.

**Bloodsucking Fiends is probably my favorite and also has a couple of sequels (You Suck #2 / Bite Me #3); This is one of the few series Moore has written

Island of the Sequenced Love Nun

Take a wonderfully crazed excursion into the demented heart of a tropical paradise—a world of cargo cults, cannibals, mad scientists, ninjas, and talking fruit bats. Our bumbling hero is Tucker Case, a hopeless geek trapped in a cool guy’s body, who makes a living as a pilot for the Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation. But when he demolishes his boss’s pink plane during a drunken airborne liaison, Tuck must run for his life from Mary Jean’s goons. Now there’s only one employment opportunity left for him: piloting shady secret missions for an unscrupulous medical missionary and a sexy blond high priestess on the remotest of Micronesian hells. Here is a brazen, ingenious, irreverent, and wickedly funny novel from a modern master of the outrageous.

Practical Demonkeeping

In Christopher Moore’s ingenious debut novel, we meet one of the most memorably mismatched pairs in the annals of literature. The good-looking one is one-hundred-year-old ex-seminarian and “roads” scholar Travis O’Hearn. The green one is Catch, a demon with a nasty habit of eating most of the people he meets. Behind the fake Tudor façade of Pine Cove, California, Catch sees a four-star buffet. Travis, on the other hand, thinks he sees a way of ridding himself of his toothy traveling companion. The winos, neo-pagans, and deadbeat Lotharios of Pine Cove, meanwhile, have other ideas. And none of them is quite prepared when all hell breaks loose.

I hope this post inspires you to give one of Christopher Moore’s books a try! If you do, please consider using the affiliate links in this post, I’ll get a small commission (to keep my blog running) and the prices match going to Amazon directly! If you have any questions about the books, are also a big Christopher Moore fan or just want to say hello – leave me a comment! I’m always up for some book talk!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek