Tome Topple Round 12: Check In

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!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Recap: Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon

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)!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon

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.

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon Bingo Card

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!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Tome Topple Round 12

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!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

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!

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