Book Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

What a wild ride this book was! I first saw Foundryside on the PeruseProject YouTube channel (Reagan is one of my favorites). When I read the synopsis, I knew this was going to be right up my alley! A magic heist book? Sign. Me. Up. While I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, I did have a couple issues that detracted from the overall experience.

To start, I absolutely loved the premise of the book. We meet our main character, Sancia, and we’re with her through to the last page. Sancia is a thief and recruited to a steal an artifact from one of the main “houses” in the city. Sancia successfully secures this item (this happens within the first chapter or two, so no real spoilers) and the floodgates open wide from that moment on. I loved the fast-paced narrative and action-packed story. Bennett writes to effortlessly and it keeps you literally on the edge of your seat. The world was rich and inviting. There was so much history and backstory, it’s easy to tell this world was extremely well thought out. Having finished the book a couple days ago (and having some time to digest it), I’m still impressed with how this plot came together. I was shocked, surprised and delighted with every page turn (or Kindle button-click, in my case).

What I did struggle with was the amount of world-building-info-dumping that had to happen to set the stage. I read this book over several weeks (which is partially on me) and I found the world building to be a little on the overwhelming side. There was so much foundational information that that needed to be established to set the stage for the rest of the plot. Personally, I also struggled to keep track of some of the verbiage. The names of the artifacts were a little difficult to keep track of. I also think it’s worth mentioning that there is a somewhat significant amount of violent content included. I was a little surprised, and somewhat caught off guard, by the graphic violence. I know this a turn off for some readers, so I thought it was worth calling out here. It’s really a shame, too, because Bennett manages to craft a fantastic, engaging and thrilling story but it’s definitely not accessible to all people! Overall, I really enjoyed this entry in the Founders trilogy and am looking forward to reading Shorefall in the future!

Top 5 Friday: Thrillers

Let me start off by saying this, I absolutely love the suspense / thriller / mystery genre! There is just something about a heart-pounding mystery that I can’t resist. I’m not sure when I got into these types of books, but I have very distinct memories of reading thrillers in bed and actually sitting up straighter because the book was so engrossing! Whether you’re a fan of the genre, looking for a new read, or someone who’s always wanted to give this genre, but didn’t know where to start, this list is for you!

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Summary: Meet Alicia Berenson, a famous artist, married to a popular, in-demand, fashion photographer. Alicia has the perfect life until one night she returns home, shoots her husband five times in the face and never speaks another word. Since Alicia won’t speak, she’s it own deepens the mystery around her. She’s soon transferred to a secured forensic unit (The Grove) where she can be hidden away from the public eye and monitored. Enter Theo Faber. Theo is a criminal psychotherapist who has been itching for a chance to work with Alicia and get her to speak. As Theo’s work with Alicia continues, we’re set off down a winding path of twists and turns, where nothing is as it appears!

Why This Book Made the List: Quite frankly, it’s un-put-down-able. I had seen this book on my “Must Read” lists for 2019. The premise did sound interesting but I thought this book would struggle to live up to the hype. Boy was I wrong. Michaelides does such a fantastic job weaving this story together. The pacing was perfect and he provides just enough details to keep you reading. I think what is most noteworthy is the ending. It was twisty, surprising and definitely steered clear of more standard / cookie cutter ideas!

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Summary: What the secret to a happy marriage? It’s easy, murder. The premise is simple, a married couple abducts and murders women. The husband handles the identification and luring while the wife handles the disposal. This is purposefully done so neither spouse know where the girl came from or where her remains are located. If this plot sounds at all interesting, don’t investigate this book anymore and just go buy a copy.

Why This Book Made the List: This book was so surprising! I saw this book featured on Netgalley but by the time I requested it, all of the ARCs were taken. As soon as it was released, I scooped it up. The synopsis is sort of vague but it just adds to the overall vibe. Downing does such a great job weaving together all of these details and expertly crafted one hell of a story. The last quarter of the book was incredible and left me speechless. Usually I’m pretty good at figuring out the ending before I get there but that was not the case here!

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Summary: Ted Severson is sitting at an airport bar, waiting to catch his flight back to Boston. He is attempting to drink his sorrows away because he’s sure his wife, Miranda, is cheating on him. He then meets the beautiful and mysterious Lily Kintner (who is also on his flight back to Boston). Ted, being slightly intoxicated, launches into how woes and how he could kill Miranda for what she’s done to him. Lily immediately jumps on board, saying she’d love to help. The two plan to meet up in a few weeks to map out of the final details of their murder plot.

Why This Book Made the List: The way Swanson wrote this book, every chapter ended on a cliffhanger and each section of the book ended with a bomb drop. I absolutely tore through this book at a ridiculous pace because I had to know what was going to happen. This book moved at breakneck speeds and was impossible to put down because you just had to know what was going to happen next. The twists were genius and very unexpected! I have to admit, I wasn’t crazy about how it ended – it wasn’t horrible but definitely not my favorite. Overall, a fantastic read that I cannot recommend enough!

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Flynn

Summary: Anna Fox has agoraphobia and spends her days inside her New York City home, too scared to venture outside. She passes the time watching old movies, drinking wine (there’s nothing wrong with that) and spying on her neighbors. When the Russells move in across the street, Anna has a new subject to watch. Mrs Russell stops over to introduce herself and they spend an afternoon socializing and getting to know each other. As Anna is gazing out her window, she thinks she see Mrs Russell being murder – but that couldn’t be! She calls the police and soon they stop over with Mr and Mrs Russell… but this isn’t the Mrs Russell that stopped by earlier! What did Anna see… or not see?

Why This Book Made the List: From the very beginning, The Woman in the Window sunk its hooks into me and never let go. I was curious to learn more about Anna, what caused her agoraphobia and how did she get to this current state she was in? The story flips between multiple present and past which help fill in her overall timeline. Like all of the other books on this list, the twists were fresh and really caught me off guard. They were a rather unique take on a somewhat overplayed storyline. I’ve recommended this book to several people and everyone has loved it! I’m anxious to see the film adaptation (staring Amy Adams) but who knows when that will happen – the film has been delayed several times (once to rewrite the ending since a test audience found it confusing and again due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Summary: Journalist, Camille Preaker, has done everything in her power to separate herself from the small town where she grew up (Wind Gap, Missouri). Unfortunately for Camille, she is assigned to investigate a series of gruesome murders that happened / are happening in Wind Gap. Camille returns to her hometown and remembers all of the reasons why she left in the first place: Small town drama, her overly-needy mother, half-sister Amma and psychological demons that’s she’s trying to leave in the past. As Camille digs deeper and deeper into these murders, she quickly realizes that she might not survive this homecoming.

Why This Book Made the List: I picked up Sharp Objects after I read Gone Girl. While I enjoyed Gone Girl (the ending was meh), I loved Sharp Objects. I found the setting to be interesting and the bizarre family drama dynamics were definitely entertaining. As Camille dug deeper and deeper into the mystery, I had no idea how this book was going to end. It kept me engaged and interested until he very last page – and that ending was perfection! This is an extremely dark book that deals with some pretty heavy subject matter – definitely check out the trigger warnings on this before taking the plunge! Also, if you do enjoy the book – I highly recommend the HBO series. This also starred Amy Adams (as Camille) and she did a fantastic job bringing this character to life. While I enjoyed the TV show, it did take about half of the episodes for the plot to really come together and get interesting.

There you have it, folks! These are some of my all time favorite thrillers. Have you read any of these? What did you think? Do they deserve to be in my Top 5 list? Sound off in the comments or tweet me / add me on GoodReads (@ItsMrGeekToYou)!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

PS – This post includes affiliate links, if you’re looking to pick up one of these books, please consider using the links in my post. I’ll receive a small commission and it doesn’t cost you a thing!

Book Review: Everyone Knows How Much I Love You by Kyle McCarthy

“Everyone Knows How Much I Love You” by Kyle McCarthy is a tricky book for me to review. I am a huge fan of the suspense / thriller genre and never get board with reading something that gets my heart pounding. Unfortunately, “Everyone Knows How Much I Love You” went a little off the rails in the middle and wasn’t really able to recover.

The premise of this book had me hooked as soon as I read the synopsis. When Rose, a struggling author, moves to New York City, the last person she expects to run into is her former best friend from High School, Lacie. After a chain of events, these two women find their lives beginning to intersect and they soon settle back into their old friendship. As Rose is trying to find a place to live, on a minimal budget, Lacie offers up the spare bedroom in her apartment. We learn that Rose is on the cusp of finishing her book which, unbeknownst to Lacie, is about her. Soon Rose has infiltrated Lacie’s life – she begins wearing her clothings, meeting her friends and even connects with her boyfriend (a former friend from Art Camp). As the plot unfolds, we learn more about what happened in High School that drove the two friends apart. It was at this point that the book began to lose me. Without giving away too many spoiled, Rose begins an affair and the plot really went off the rails. The narrative became so disgustingly raunchy and graphic that I almost stopped reading. I think this would’ve been slightly easier to understand if I felt like it advanced the plot in some capacity – but it did not. I’m far from a prude but this writing was disgusting and completely unnecessary. As the book began to wind down, I was curious how this was all going to end (Spoiler: Not well for anyone involved). The ending felt rushed and, while it was surprising, wasn’t particularly good. I definitely was scratching my head for a few minutes after I finished the last page.

Overall, not a horrible read but definitely not a favorite for the year. Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House – I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. If you’re interested in pick up a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (it doesn’t cost you anything and I’ll get a small commission to help keep my blog going)!

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Book Review: House In The Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

How do you review utter perfection? The In The Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune was a frickin’ masterpiece! As I mentioned in my Mid-Year Freak Out post, my good friend Mollie recommended this book to me and she was SPOT ON. I absolutely loved this book from the very beginning! The plot was engrossing and I even found myself thinking about it when I wasn’t reading. I ended up reading the last ~200 pages on Sunday because I just had to know how this was all going to end.

The plot revolves around a casework, named Linus, who worked for the Department In Charge Of Magical Youth (DICOMY). Linus gets assigned out to different orphanages around the country that provide housing for these magical children. Linus prides himself on his objectivity and how he doesn’t become emotionally attached to anyone he meets. He is there to do a job and, eventually, make a recommendation if the orphanage should remain open. Soon Linus is called to meet with Extremely Upper Management and receives a highly classified assignment: Visit the Marsyas Island orphanage and report back on whether it should remain in operation. Linus immediately packs his bags and heads off for the greatest adventure of his life!

There was honestly just so much that I loved about this book. It was such an interesting journey watching Linus evolve as a character. He truly grows and develops throughout the story and there are main key moments that really stand out to you as the reader. Additionally, the cast of character were so endearing and diverse. Each of the children we met at the orphanage had a unique voice and personality. It was also very sweet how this group of assorted magic youths all interacted and became each other’s families. The world is such an ugly place right now that reading something so heartwarming really was a refreshing change of pace!

I also feel it necessary to call out how skillfully Klune managed to tackle prejudice and discrimination in this book. “The House In The Cerulean Sea” came out in March and it’s very ironic how relevant these themes are given the current climate we’re living in. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between minority groups and the magical children in this book. Klune does an incredible job highlighting the message that just because someone is different, doesn’t meant they are wrong. This was such a positive message and something that many people needs to hear (unfortunately, those people probably don’t read much).

If you’re looking for a book that will whisk you away while dropkicking you in the feel, pick up “The House In The Cerulean Sea” by T. J. Klune. From start to finish, this was an absolutely amazing book! You won’t regret it!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Until Next Time,
Mr. Geek

Mid-Year Freak Out Booktag

I recently saw the Mid-Year Freak Out booktag on YouTube and thought I’d do a little research to see if this was something that I could translate to my blog. The Mid-Year Freak Out is basically just your year in books, so far, highlighting your favorite and not-so-favorite books. I thought this would be a fun way to recap my reading year and revisit some of my favorite books! 2020 seems to be moving incredibly fast and incredibly slow simultaneously! So, without further ado, onto my list!


Best book you’ve read so far in 2020.

The House on the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

So I am cheating a little with this one and I haven’t finished this book at the time of authoring this post (but hopefully by the time it goes live next week). My good friend Mollie recommend that I read “The House on the Cerulean Sea.” This is such a wonderful, surprising and wholesome book – it really caught me off guard! We follow the main character, Linus, who is a casework for the Department In Charge Of Magical Youth (DICOMY). The book opens with Linus visiting an orphanage and reporting on how they are treating the children left in their care. Soon Linus receives a highly classified assignment where he must visit an orphanage on the island of Marsyas. This particular orphanage has an assortment of very “unique” and magical children. The story continues to roll from there! It’s best to go into this one with limited knowledge of the plot and to just be swept away! Cannot recommend this one enough (I officially finished this on Sunday and read the last ~200 pages)!



Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020.

Thunderhead by Neal Schusterman

Scythe was the very first book I read this year and it was excellent! I had no idea how Thunderhead could top that but it did! To keep this summary spoiler-free, Thunderhead begins shortly after the events of Scythe and the action just doesn’t stop. The plot moves a breakneck speeds and the ending really caught me by surprise. I’m excited to read The Toll but I’m also not ready to finish this series!


New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

One of my favorite BookTubers, Reagan from PeruseProject, is a HUGE fan of N. K. Jemisin. Reagan has featured several of Jemisin’s books on her channel. I’ve never read anything by this author but I recently picked up an omnibus of her Inheritance trilogy and a copy of The City We Became. The City We Became has a fascinating premise, each city has a soul and is birthed. New York City is finally entering the world when an evil villain shows up to stop it. All of the summaries I’ve read about this are rather vague but I’m really looking forward to diving into this one soon!


Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by Victoria Schwab

Victoria Schwab has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I read her “Shades of Magic” trilogy back in 2018 and have been an avid fan since then. This new stand alone adult novel has the potential to be one of my favorite books by Schwab yet! We follow the main character, Addie, who made a deal with the Devil for immortality. What did it cost her? She’s destined to be forgotten by everyone that she meets. Until one day, she meets a man in a hidden bookstore who remembers her name. October can’t come soon enough for this one!


Biggest disappointment.

You by Caroline Kepnes

When I found out that one of my favorite shows from Netflix, YOU, was actually based on a book, I was thrilled! I quickly binged both Season 1 and 2 shortly after their releases. Since I so thoroughly enjoyed the show, I thought I was all but guaranteed to love the book… wrong. We follow the main character, Joe, who works in a book store in New York City. One day, Guinevere Beck comes into the shop and Joe’s life is changed forever. Joe becomes obsessed with Beck and begin stalking her. Soon their lives begin to intersect and you can tell their relationship is a ticking time bomb that won’t end well. For me, something was lost in translation between the TV show and the novel. Even though Joe is a stalker, TV Joe had this likability that Book Joe was completely missing. I also found the aggressive and raunchy language to really put me off as a reader. I usually struggle with this type of content because imagining it in a book is so much worse than seeing it on a screen. Not a fan and I would definitely say pass on this one if you were interested!


Biggest surprise.

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely adore cheesy horror movies. The lower the budget, the better! After reading the plot of “The Escape Room,” I knew this would be right up my alley. A group of coworkers end up trapped in the elevator of a new building that’s under construction. They’re lured to this particular location under the muse of an escape room team bonding challenge. This book has multiple timelines (I love this writing style) and flips between present day and the past. I found the plot extremely engaging and easy to follow. I compulsively read this one because I just had to know how this was going to end! A very good thriller and a very quick read! If you’re into the thriller / suspense genre, this book can’t be missed!


Favorite new author, debut or new to you.

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

I originally saw “Oona Out of Order” on the Jordy’s Book Club Instagram account. The cover really caught my attention and once I read the summary, I knew I had to read this book as soon as possible! The premise was fascinating – starting on Oona’s 18th birthday, she begins to live her life out of order. Each birthday she “leaps” to a past or future year (i.e. she’s 56 then she’s 67 then she’s 22). I don’t really want to discuss the plot because the journey is really what makes it so enjoyable. What I enjoyed the most was the “lesson” each year taught her. I love when I book can teach you a lesson or give you something to think about. Montimore gave us these philosophical nuggets wrapped up in an intriguing story that pulled you in and never let you go.


Book that made you happy.

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

I’ve been seeing reviews, hype and praise for Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter books for YEARS. Beginning last year, I decided I was going to commit to reading these books, in order, over the next year or two. I began with the first Mortal Instruments trilogy, read the Infernal Devices trilogy and then the second Mortal Instruments trilogy. I made it through the first 7 books last year. I read the penultimate, City of Lost Souls, and the finale, City of Heavenly Fire, this year. City of Heavenly Fire was honestly a perfect final entry in the Mortal Instruments series. There was plenty of action, heartbreak and loose ends were nicely tied up. This was quite the chunky book, coming in at nearly 750 pages, but it never felt long. I was sad to end the Mortal Instruments, because it was like saying goodbye to a group of friends (who I spent over 3,000 pages with). I am eagerly anticipating wrapping up the short story binds ups so I can move onto the Dark Artifices trilogy! I’ve heard this is one of Clare’s best series and is quite addicting!


Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Gryffindor House Edition by J. K. Rowling

Instead of writing about this one, I’m just going to share a picture! I ordered this book from Waterstones (United Kingdom) with a couple other books that I had been eyeing the UK editions.


What 6 books do you want to read by the end of the year?

  • The Toll by Neal Schusterman
  • Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
  • Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
  • Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

If you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read this post! So far, 2020 has been a tumultuous year. I’ve been struggling to find my reading groove with everything happening in the world but, thankfully, I’ve been fortunate to read a lot of really great books! I hope over these next 6 months things continue to settle down and my TBR continues to shrink (who am I kidding, it’s only going to grow)! What’s your favorite book you’ve read this year? What was your biggest dud? What’s a title you’re counting down until the release? Leave me your recommendations in the comments!

Until Next Time,
Mr. Geek

Favorite Quotes #1

As I previously mentioned, before launching this blog (again), I brainstormed a list of potential writing topics. One of the ideas I had to was discuss some of my favorite quotes. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved a good quote, so I think this is easily going to be one of my favorite topics to write about! This should be a win-win: 1) I’ll have a series of posts documenting all of my favorite quotes and 2) Maybe one of these quotes will connect with you, resulting in your next favorite read! So, without further ado, onto the quotes!

“You will be fine,” the fortune-teller says. “There may be decisions to make, and surprises in store. Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone, remember that.”
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Book Summary: The Night Circus is an absolutely amazing tale about two magicians (Celia & Marco) who, unbeknownst to them, were entered into a competition at a very young age. Each time their circus arrives in a town, these magicians are included in an act and a “winner” is chosen based on their performances. To further complicate the situation, Celia and Marco begin to fall in love… which becomes even more problematic since there can only be one winner of their competition and the other will perish. Morgenstern’s proses are rich, detailed and completely engrossing – she weaves a gripping tale that will captivate you until the very last page. The characters are memorable and the story is pure magic – if you haven’t read The Night Circus, do yourself a favor and add this to your TBR!

Why I love this quote: Ever since I picked up this book a few years ago (thanks for the recommendation Mollie!) this particular line has stuck with me. I love the optimism! Life may take us in a direction that we never expected, but nothing is set in stone and everything can be changed. Life taking us to “unexpected places” also really resonates with me. Back when I was in college (about 10 years ago), I had my future all planned out. Fast forward to the present day, very few of my plans worked out the way I expected (but, thankfully, in some cases, they worked out better). What’s really amazing, though, is that life took me to some truly unexpected, and great, places. While my life isn’t perfect, I wouldn’t change a thing!

“And that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.”
Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Book Summary: A Librarian. A lost city. Children of Gods.**
**It’s really best to go into this book knowing very little about the plot. Taylor’s writing is effortless and the plot unpacks at a perfect rate. Just brace yourself for an emotional rollercoaster and enjoy the ride!

Why I love this quote: I am a huge advocate for having a sense of humor! I try not to take myself too seriously, am unapologetically myself and definitely laugh off my mistakes. For me, it’s important to see the humor during difficult situations but also helping others see the humor as well. When you can own these trying times, which I think we can all relate to right now), with humor, positivity and optimism, it makes everything a little easier to handle.

“All good things end, always. The trick is to enjoy them while they last.”
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

Book Summary: Starting on Oona’s 19th birthday, which happens to be New Year’s Day, when the clock strikes midnight, Oona “leaps” to a different year and begins living her life out-of-order. These leaps are random and soon she is hopscotching through decades, pop culture trends and major life events. This is definitely more of a “life lesson” book but the story is fantastic and it will definitely stick with you long after you finish the last page. This is another one that better to go in with limited knowledge about the plot and just enjoy the ride.

Why I love this quote: I think the reason this is one of my favorite quotes and has stuck with me is because we usually don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone. This particular line is encouraging you to really soak in all of those good times while you have them because, unfortunately, they won’t last. Everyone is so consumed with multitasking, social media or worrying about “what’s next” that we lose sight of the great things right in front of us. In this uncertain world we’re living in, I’ve been trying to slow down and acknowledge the good things in life. It doesn’t matter if it’s a FaceTiming with friends, reading on the patio, a round of golf or a nice glass of win – these moment should be enjoyed!


I hope you enjoyed these quotes as much as I do! I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post and this will absolute be a frequent topic here at Treat Yo Shelf. Feel free to sound off in the comments about which of these quotes you liked best or post you own favorite quotes (please include the book too)!

Until Next Time,
Mr. Geek

Book Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

It’s hard to believe that it has be 10 years since Suzanne Collins concluded the Hunger Games trilogy. What’s even harder to believe, is that this series wasn’t even my radar until the release of “Mockingjay.” I distinctly remember seeing a “Coming Soon” poster at Barnes & Noble and thinking “What’s the deal with this blue book with the bird on the cover?” I never investigated the book further until it happened to come up one day at work (I was working at a small Publishing company, at the time). One of our interns was an English major and was talking about how she just binge read “Mockingjay” the day it came out for class. This sparked my interest and we started discussing the series. After that conversation, I was officially intrigued and ran out during my lunch break to pick up a copy of “The Hunger Games!” This series quickly became one of my favorites and the rest, my friends, is history!

I heard, earlier this year, that a new Hunger Games prequel was announced and I was thrilled. Details were few and far between but the events of this book happen roughly 50 years or so before we meet Katniss. Even with no information on the plot, I was still looking forward to re-visitng Panem. As additional details were announced, it was revealed that this book was going to be focusing on President Snow. The book community seemed to responded with mixed feelings but I was still extremely interested in reading this new release as soon as possible!

I purposely avoided reviews, feedback and comments about “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (TBOSAS)” while I was reading so I didn’t accidentally spoil anything for myself (or pick up some sort of bias). Having finished the book last night, I spent most of this morning seeking out all of that content I was avoiding. I was quite surprised by some of the reactions I saw. There were digs at Collins for “extending” a concluded series, Snow as a main character and how these details could’ve been included in the original trilogy / didn’t deserve their own book. I wanted to share of my thoughts and why I think some of this feedback missed its mark. Disclaimer: All of this content is relatively spoiler-free, I discuss some revealed information but without any context and I don’t think it will reduce your enjoyment of the book.

To start off, this book is without a doubt NOT an “extension” of “The Hunger Games” series. We are not continuing the story with Katniss and Peeta. The purpose of this novel was to give readers the background on how the Hunger Games became the Hunger Games. When Katniss and Peeta competed, we saw past winners serving as mentors, elaborate costumes, in-depth tribute interviews, a ranking / betting system, technologically-advanced arenas and gifts being flown in to fan-favorites, but how did that all come to be? “TBOSAS” gives you all of this background information and more! I guess I sort of assumed that the Hunger Games were expertly structured from the very beginning. That was definitely not the case! It took years and years of iterations to turn these Games into the finely tuned event we see in “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire.”

While President Snow wasn’t my first choice as a main character, it was interesting learning more about his upbringing and background. In his youth, Snow was not the twisted, manipulative, villainous dictator we’ve all come to despise from the main trilogy. Instead, he was a poor orphan boy, living with his cousin and Grandma’am, trying to maintain a false appearance of grandeur. Snow was extremely driven and dreamed of achieving a better life for not only himself, but his family too. I found his character building to be fascinating. Later in the book, we come to understand why Snow hated District 12 and his complicated relationship with the mockingjay. For me, I think these were some of my favorite revelations in the book. Katniss was often referred to as the Mockingjay but that now takes on a whole new meaning!

Snow’s behavior towards the end of the book does become a little erratic but I think this all ties into the fact that he is extremely driven and will do almost anything to get what he wants. There was a period where he seemed very resigned to his fate but as soon as there was a glimmer of hope, he continued fighting – nothing was going to stop him from the future he so desperately desired!

While this wasn’t a perfect read, probably 4 or 4.5 / 5 stars, it was very enjoyable. If you’re on the fence about picking this up, here are a few things to ponder to help decide: Are you interested in learning the origins and growth of the Hunger Games? Why President Snow hates mockingjays and District 12? How mentors, betting, interviews and gifting were introduced? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll at least get some pleasure from reading this book. If you’re expecting an action-packed adventure in the arena, you probably should pass on this one!

Have you read “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?” Do you agree or disagree? Sound off in the comments – I love a good good discussion!

Until next time,
Mr. Geek

Tome Topple Round 11: Wrap Up

Well Tome Topple officially concluded last night at midnight. This was my second soiree into the Tome Topple Read-A-Thon and I had more success this round than I did in Round 10. I set a pretty aggressive TBR for this round and was not able to complete all of the books (not surprising). I was able to finish “Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor and a good portion of “Eldest” by Christopher Paolini. As I was working out my TBR, I didn’t factor in that “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins was coming out in the middle of this read-a-thon (which absolutely sabotaged my plan). I’m going to go ahead and give myself the “Scholar” status hitting the following prompts:

I finished “Strange The Dreamer” on audiobook yesterday afternoon. I originally read this book on my Kindle in January 2019. I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy a book more the second time through than the original read (outside of Harry Potter, of course). The book summary really keeps you in the dark for the most part (which is absolutely part of the charm). I’m not sure if having a better grasp of the plot helped my enjoyment or what, but I thoroughly enjoyed my re-read! The audiobook was extremely well down with excellent production value. I typically listen to audiobook whenever I go for walks – each time I turned on this audiobook, I became instantly engrossed in the plot. The narrator did a fantastic job as well and really added another dimension to this story. If you haven’t picked up “Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor, do yourself a favor and add this to your TBR. While the ending does provide some closure, you’ll be incredibly eager to start the sequel, Muse of Nightmares, as soon as possible!

The other book I semi-toppled, was “Eldest” by Christopher Paolini. I still have a bit left of this book to go, so I want to reserve my final judgement until then! I have been enjoying what I’ve read so far but the slightly overly detailed descriptions, really slow down the pacing. I have an idea of where this story is going and anticipate there to be quite a bit of action (I think I’m on the cusp of this happening). I definitely could have finished this book, if my pre-order of “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” didn’t show up almost a week early!

I have been anticipating the release of “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” for months. I was late to reading “The Hunger Games,” I started them around when “Mockingjay” was released. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire series and was anxious to return to this world. There was a lot of negativity and skepticism around this new entry being a President Snow origin story but I was interested in seeing Collins continue to build that character. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to purchase the Kindle edition because it was $17.99 (which is ludicrous) or a hardback for $19.99. Target ended up running a couple deals a few weeks back that all stacked, so I was about to get the hardback for ~$13 + tax. The only downside here was Target doesn’t provide free release-day shipping – my original delivery date was 5/26. While I was disappointed, I was also subliminally thankful because this gave me a chance to finish “Eldest” and chip away at a couple of the Shadowhunter novella bindups I’ve been working through (in preparation to read The Dark Artifices series). I was surprised when my delivery date was updated to this past Wednesday (5/20). I’ve been staring at this book since it came and finally broke down last night, abandoning “Eldest” and starting “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” I’m about 75 pages in so far and absolutely loving it! I’m planning to fully review this book once I’m finished (which, at this rate, will be soon)!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Starting A New Chapter

Hi Everyone – 

My name is Shawn (aka Mr Geek) and I’m just your average, 30-something guy hailing from the City of Bridges, Pittsburgh, PA.  By day, I work for a sporting goods company in their eCommerce department and by night, I am reading obsessed (we can’t forget my other hobbies like being a Tech Nerd, Golfing Guru, Apple Aficionado, Coffee Connoisseur and Wine Snob).  

I have always loved the idea of blogging and writing about something I’m passionate about.  I started a book review blog a couple years ago but the combination of focusing strictly on reviews (limited content) and some family health issues didn’t really set me up for success.   I’ve decided to try blogging one more time and go all in – Welcome to Treat Yo Shelf by Mr Geek!  This time around, I’m changing up the rules and coming back with a revised game plan.  Instead of only focusing on book reviews, I’ll be taking a more “bookish” approach.  So… What the heck does that mean?  It means that in addition to book reviews, I’m also going to be writing about a variety of book-themed topics like:

  1. Top 5 Lists by Genre
  2. Funny / Super Short Reviews
  3. Audiobooks
  4. Favorite Book Quotes
  5. Recent Book Hauls / Purchases
  6. Book / eBook Deals
  7. Bookish Product Reviews
  8. Reading Recaps
  9. Upcoming Books
  10. “If You Like This, You’ll Like That” Recommendations
  11. To Be Read (TBR) Plans
  12. Reading Challenges / Read-A-Thons
  13. How-To Topics
  14. and the occasional, “Rant” Post

My goal is to make this a fun, interactive place for you to get all your bookish content.  Please feel free to comment, ask questions and engage with me!  I’m always looking for my next favorite read and, hopefully, you’ll find a noteworthy recommendation or two along the way as well!  Hopefully this is the start of a great journey! 

Remember Friends – There’s always time to treat yo shelf!

Until Next Time,
Mr. Geek