When 2020 kicked off, I had lofty goals and expectations for the year. 2019, in general, wasn’t a great. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and underwent a pretty extensive treatment over the summer between that and his recovery the year was pretty bleak. I remember us sitting at dinner on New Year’s Eve, toasting that we were happy for 2019 to be behind us and ready for a fresh start in 2020. This year has not been ideal but I’ve been managing to find nuggets of happiness along the way. Early into the pandemic I struggled to read and found myself generally anxious about life and unable to focus on my books (granted, there were a lot of unknowns about work, life and what was going to happen next). As we shift into the latter half of 2020, I seem to have fallen into a nice reading groove and am working on accomplishing my stretch goal of 52 books for the year!
I’ve found that by joining read-a-thons, it gave me a greater sense of focus and allowed me to turn my reading into a bit of a game. One of the first read-a-thons I joins this year was Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon. 24 hours dedicated to nothing but reading! I live on the East Coast and love the fact that this one starts at 8 am (my time). When Kate, from Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon, was looking for volunteers to help co-host this October read-a-thon I knew I had to sign up!
My blog, Treat Yo Shelf, was inspired by Parks & Recc and the greatest day of the year: Treat Yo Self. I’ve always been an enabler and an advocate for splurging on that new book! This October, Treat Yo Shelf and Dewey’s are coming together, to encourage readers throughout the country to go buy a new book and read along with me for 24 hours!
Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon starts on October 24th at 8 am (EST)! I’ll be hosting a mini challenge (follow me on Twitter for updates, if you aren’t already, @ItsMrGeekToYou) and I’ll be co-hosting a couple of hours late into the read-a-thon! Hope you are able to join in on the fun! If you have questions, let me know in the comments!
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.
It’s hard to believe that we’re already at about halfway point for Tome Topple Round 12! This might just be a mental thing, but I feel like I’m making much more progress this round than I have in Rounds 10 & 11. By the time this post goes live (writing it a little early and scheduling when it will be published), I should be done with Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. I have so thoroughly enjoyed this book and I honestly can’t say enough good things about it! The characters, the plot, the mystery… it’s so engrossing! For being nearly 700 pages, the story hasn’t dragged and the pacing has been absolutely perfect. Even when there isn’t “action” per se, there is still an air of mystery that propels you through the story. This is a bit of a premature statement, since I still have to read Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness, but I think the Dark Artifices has the potential to be my favorite Shadowhunter trilogy to date. I have a feeling the Last Hours will also be in the running, when I make it to that series!
I setup a pretty nice, well-rounded TBR when I was prepping for Tome Topple but now I’m in a bit of a conundrum. I don’t know what to read next! My choices are:
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Muse of Nightmares by Liani Taylor
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (for a “parody” post on my blog)
The Toll by Neal Shusterman
This is where I’m asking for your help, WordPress, Twitter and Tome Topple communities! I’ll most likely be starting this book later today or tomorrow and I’d like a fast-paced, can’t-out-down book since I want to finish it before the end of the week (and I might even start something else if I finish this in time)! Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts? What I should I read next? Leave a comment, tweet me or send an owl to help me figure this out! I appreciate your support!
It’s hard to believe that almost exactly one week ago, I was gearing up for Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon. I wanted to post this update earlier this week, but time just got away from me!
This was my first time participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon and it absolutely will not be my last! I’m currently participating in Tome Topple (if you don’t know what that is, read more about it here) and this read-a-thon was the perfect way to jump-start my reading! I managed to read about 250 pages of Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (the first book in the Dark Artifices trilogy) for Dewey’s read-a-thon. From page 1, I knew I was going to love this book. I’ve seen some of these characters before, in other Clare books, and plot immediately sucked me in! I’ve been reading this book all week and I’m hoping to wrap it up tomorrow (maybe today, there’s a lot happening and I want to know how it’s going to end).
I was able to make some pretty substantial progress on their bingo card and get “bingo” twice (would’ve been 3 times but I couldn’t tear myself away from my book to read something else).
Dewey’s new read-a-thon is scheduled for October 24th (and it’s going to be a full-length event)! Mark your calendar and gather your books. You already know this Geek is going to participating (I might even sign up for a guest host spot)!
Last night I was browsing around Twitter and stumbled upon a new read-a-thon that’s taking place soon (aka tomorrow), Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon! Like all read-a-thons, the purpose here is to read as much as possible within a 24 hour period. In a spur of the moment decision, I’ve decided to participate (plus this overlaps with the start of Tome Topple, so I’ll be double dipping on my reading goals). Dewey’s read-a-thon also uses a bingo card format (which I’ll post below). I love how diverse this list of prompts are – should add a fun twist! The other thing that I really appreciate about this read-a-thon is the start time. It begins at 8 pm (EST) which is ideal for me. Our office closes early (3 pm) over the summer so I’ll have some time to get myself organized before diving into my reading.
I’m planning to read Lady Midnight and The Shadowhunter’s Codex both by Cassandra Clare. I might also pick up a magazine to help break up my reading. I doubt I’ll finish Lady Midnight (that book is nearly 700 pages) I’ll be sure to do a recap post this weekend, after the read-a-thon ends, summarizing my progress and how much I was able to read.
Are you planning to participate in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon? What’s only our TBR? Do you have any other read-a-thons that you like? Feel free to share in the comments – I’m always looking for reading challenges and prompts!
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s that time again! Tome Topple has announced a new round starting this Saturday (8/8), running until Friday, August 21st. If you aren’t familiar with Tome Topple, the premise is simple: Read tomes! A “tome,” for the purposes of this read-a-thon, is is any book over 500 pages.
Similar to Round 11, the “bingo card” format is making a return to help participants track their completed reading prompts. While some of my books align with the prompts, I’m not going to force myself into it this round. I think by reading what I want to read, I’m going to have more success! While I don’t have an exact TBR, I have several books queued up and I’m going to read whatever fits my mood!
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
I have been looking forward to starting the Dark Artifices trilogy for quite some time (unfortunately, I had quite a few books to read to get to this point). I officially caught up and am able to start reading Lady Midnight! I am absolutely kicking off Tome Topple with this book. I’m excited to return this world and have heard phenomenal things about this book and series! Reading Prompts: Tome with the most Pages; Read 1 Tome
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
I’ve seen a ton of Mariary’s books but never picked one up. A few years ago, HBO announced that they were turning Big Little Lies into a 1 season, mini-series. I had no intentions of watching the show but for some reason ended up catching a couple episodes and was hooked! The TV show had an incredible cast and storyline was so wild you couldn’t wait to see what happened next! Definitely not my typical TV show (or book) but I’m looking forward to digging into this one. Reading Prompts: Tome from a genre you don’t typical read; Standalone tome
The Toll by Neal Shusterman
The first book I read this year was Scythe and I absolutely loved it! Shortly after I finished that, I moved onto Thunderhead which was also a stellar entry in the series. The Toll is the third and final book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy. I am anxious to see how this all ends but I’m also not ready for the conclusion. Based on the Shusterman books that I’ve read, I have high expectations for this finale (and I have a feeling it’s going to deliver). Reading Prompts: A tome by a Black author; Most recent tome
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
I read Strange the Dreamer last year and did a quick reread (listen) during the last round of Tome Topple as a refresher. I already know this is going to be an incredible read and I’m ready to have my emotions thrown into a blender. Taylor doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to writing a heart-wrenching story. I’m looking forward to revisiting these characters and them getting, hopefully, some semblance of a happy ending! Reading Prompt: Tome audiobook (partially); Tome started during a past round
Twilight by Stephanie Meyers
I am not afraid to rag on Twilight. I’ve never read these books before because I thought the premise was silly and it wasn’t something I would enjoy. I’ve contemplated reading these for the last several years (to put facts behind my opinions) but have always decided against it. I think I am going to attempt to read the first book in this series and write a funny, honest (sort of parody) review for the book afterwords. If nothing else, I think it will make good blog material! Not sure if this will make it into my Tome Topple TBR but be on the look out for a funny review coming soon!
Well, that’s my alleged TBR for this round of Tome Topple. Like the previous round, I’ll be doing a check-in (or two) and a wrap up after the read-a-thon has concluded. Be sure to stop back and follow my reading journey! Are you participating in this round of Tome Topple? What’s on your TBR? Share your books in the comments!
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)!
Tome Topple began this past Saturday and I hit the ground running. I set an aggressive TBR, filled with books that I’ve been wanting to read! I wanted to give a quick update and outline my plan for the next few weeks. Usually I review books immediately upon finishing them. Instead, I’ll be focusing on reading and providing quick updates here with full reviews to come after the read-a-thon has ended.
The first book I’m starting off with is Eldest by Christopher Paolini. Eldest is the second book in the Inheritance Cycle. Book on in this series, Eragon, is named after main character. In this first installment, we meet Eragon, an orphaned boy living with his uncle and cousin on their farm. One day while Eragon is hunting, he finds a mysterious blue stone in the woods and that’s when his adventure begins. Eldest picks up immediately after the concluding events of Eragon (which I won’t get into, to keep this spoiler free). I am really enjoying this entry so far! I have always been a fan of multiple perspectives in a book and Eldest alternated back and forth between Eragon’s and Ronan’s respective storylines. At about 200 pages in, I feel much more vest in Ronan’s story than I do with Eragon. A lot more is currently happening with Ronan and there’s a bit more action – I full anticipate this to flip in the coming chapters.
The other book I decided to read (listen to) was Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor on audiobook. This one is a re-read for me. Early last year, I read Strange the Dreamer on my Kindle and absolutely loved it. The world and characters that Taylor creates is nothing short of magical. I honestly don’t want to share any details about this book because part of the charm and experience is unpacking all of those details as you read. The writing is so captivating that it literally sweeps you away. If you’ve wanted to try audiobooks, I highly recommend Strange the Dreamer. The production value here is top notch and the narrator is absolutely superb! Definitely the perfect gateway to entering the world of audiobooks.
Over the last couple years, I started to really enjoy watching book reviews and discussions on YouTube (specifically these channels: Thoughts On Tomes, PersueProject and Daniel Greene). Late last year, I saw a video for the “Tome Topple Read-A-Thon,” which was started by Sam from Thoughts On Tomes. The main objective is simple, to read books with more than 500 pages. I’ve always loved the idea of a read-a-thon or reading prompts (i.e. read a book with a red cover), but I never took the plunge until recently. In February, I decided to participate in Round 10 of Tome Topple. I created my TBR (To Be Read) to align with their reading prompts and was ready to roll. Unfortunately, it didn’t end (or start) well for me. I wasn’t done with my current book when the read-a-thon began, so I got off to a late start. In the end, I didn’t even finish one book (granted, I was reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare and that book is near 750 pages). For Round 11, which started this Saturday (May 9th), I have a whole new plan and I’m ready to read!
Tome Topple uses a “Bingo Card” style format for tracking the prompts (which I’ll share below). These prompts help you to create your TBR, stay engaged and just lighten up the read-a-thon. This is run by a great group of people and they are constantly encouraging you to “read more.” They host reading sprints on Twitter and also have several other ways to interact (like a GoodReads group).
I’m, aggressively, aiming for Sage status which I can accomplish if I read all of the following books (but let’s be honest, I’ll be thrilled if I reach Student):
Eldest (The Inheritance Cycle, #2) by Christopher Paolini
It has been years since I first read Eragon but I thoroughly enjoyed the story and have been looking to get back into this series. This book will count for the “tome that has been on my TBR for the longest” and “a tome that’s part of a series” prompts.
The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
Last year I decided I wanted to start reading Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Chronicles. Little did I know that this was going to become an epic journey. I decided to read the books the way that Clare recommends (The Mortal Instruments 1-3, The Infernal Devices trilogy then The Mortal Instruments 4-6). The Bane Chronicles will be the last of the 3 supplemental books I have to read before I can move on to The Dark Artifices (this series has received nothing but praise, so I’m really looking forward to it). This book will count for the “standalone tome” and a tome with an “AAPI main character” prompts.
Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
I have been seeing nothing but great feedback and praise for Priory of the Orange Tree. This is quite the tome and I’ve been a little intimidated by how long it is (coming in at nearly 850 pages). A good friend of mine read this not too long ago and she raved about how great it was! Definitely looking forward to this one! This book will be counting for the “adult tome” and “a genre I don’t typically read” (adult epic fantasy) prompts.
Strange the Dream(Strange the Dream Duology, #1) by Laini Taylor
This will actually be a re-read for me and I’ll be listening to this via audiobook. I read this early last year and absolutely loved it. The whole concept of this novel was so unique and engrossing but the end was pretty traumatizing. I’d like to read the sequel, Muse of Nightmares, later this year so I thought brushing up on the story with an audiobook was the perfect choice! This book will count towards the “tome audiobook” prompt.
Like I previously mentioned, Tome Topple starts this Saturday (May 9th) and runs through May 22nd. For more information, check out their Twitter account (@TomeTopple) or Sam’s YouTube Channel (Thoughts On Tomes). If you’re able, grab a tome and read along with me! I’ll be providing quick updates on my progress and thoughts on my current reads, both here and on Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou), over the coming weeks. Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Feel free to leave some thoughts or feelings about them in the comments but, please, no spoilers!
Until Next Time, Mr Geek
PS – I am not affiliated with Tome Topple. I think it’s an excellent idea and wanted to help spread the word!