February ’22 Wrap Up!

Hello Readers!

I can’t believe that February is officially over. Somehow this month feels both extremely long and extremely fast at the same time. I feel like I was just writing my TBR post or my Top 5 Books from 2021 (to sync up with Valentine’s Day). While I don’t love how fast time seems to be moving, I am excited about Spring approaching, Day Light Savings Time starting (goodbye darkness at 5:30) and we’re one step closer to “Summer Hours” at work. Overall, I had a pretty solid reading month and managed to finish 4 books (about halfway done with another one). So without further ado, let’s dive in!

The first book I tackled was The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. I really started the month off with a bang! This was a fantastic story that, once you got about 1/3 the way in, really sinks its hooks into you. The synopsis is pretty vague but that woks in the favorite of the story. You follow three different points of view throughout the book which was a little disorienting at first but soon becomes comfortable. There were a fair number of twists and turns along the way that I didn’t see coming (there were also som weird, cringeworthy moments too). Overall, if you’re a fan of fantasy books, that are character driven, you should give this one a try!

Next I jumped into the Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo and Dear Justyce by Nic Stone. I more or less read these books simultaneously. The Poet X follows a High School student, Xiomara, as she navigates a strict religious family, High School and growing up. The book is written in verse which I found to be really unique and different. The further I got into the novel, the more I enjoyed it (as I became accustom to the style). I highly recommend this one for anyone looking to branch out of their comfort zone a little and try something new. This was NOT an easy read though. It was quite heavy at times and I’m sure there are plenty of people who have experienced similar situations growing up. In addition, the ending felt a tad too rushed for me. It felt a little too – BOOM, we’re done here. Still, it was an interesting read! Dear Justyce is the sequel to Dear Martin. I really enjoyed Dear Martin but I think I enjoyed Dear Justyce even more. It was fast paced, engaging and read like it could be non-fiction. This novel follows a character we meet in Dear Martin and talks a bit about his life and what happens after. I think this one was done really well and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did feel it was trying too hard to be progressive at the end but that’s a minor note.

About this time, my library request for The Psalm For The Wild-Built by Becky Chambers was available, so I pivoted and decided to read that instead. I requested this book from the library awhile back because I didn’t want to spend $11 for the Kindle edition (when the book is only a little over 150 pages). This was the book equivalent of a warm hug. It was thought provoking and real. The only thing that threw me off a little was the non-binary main character. I feel like no matter the book (I struggled with this reading Legendborn and Truly Devious), I always get a little confused reading they/them and it referring to a single person. Once I adjust, I’m fine but I have to constantly remind myself that the person is non-binary.

My last book, that’s still a work in progress, is This Golden State by Marit Weisenberg. My ARC for this book arrived a little later than expected, so I’m still in the process of finishing it up. So far though, I am really enjoying it. This is a YA mystery thriller that really holds your attention and reads pretty freaking fast! I’ll be posting a full length review soon, so if this sounds like something you’d be interested in, be sure to stop back!

How was your February? Read any amazing books? Or maybe a few real duds? Let me know in the comments! I’m also planning my March “Judge A Book By Its Cover” TBR, that’s going to be a fun post!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Top 5 Favorite Books of 2021

Hello Readers and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Since today is the “holiday” that celebrates love, I though this would be the perfect time to talk about all the books I LOVED in 2021! Plus… I am WAY behind on my 2021 recaps and thought this would be the perfect excuse to still write this post even though it’s about 7 weeks late (Oops). So grab your Conversation Hearts, Dove chocolate, you favorite person and let’s talk books!

The first book I’d like to mention, and definitely a favorite of the year was Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo. How I stumbled upon this awesome book was completely accidental. I typically do most of reading on my Kindle Oasis and have been trying not to buy as many physical books (key word there is tying) because I’m running out of space. I decided to run into Barnes & Noble to pick up a book and ended up chatting with one of the employees. One thing lead to another and she ended up recommending Everything is Figureoutable to me. I had never heard of this book but the synopsis hooked me from the start. You can figure out everything if you put your mind to it. I’ve read both the physical book and the audiobook (which is narrated by the author, high energy and extremely motivating to listen to) and completely loved it. I’m not a huge fan of nonfiction but this was such an inspirational book, how could you not love it?

Next up we have Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber. I loved Garber’s Caraval series and it was great returning to this world! While Once Upon A Broken Heart isn’t directly connected to the Caraval series, there are some overlaps and Easter eggs that you’ll pick up on having read those books first. I was already excited about this book but to make it even better, I was asked by Flatiron Books to join their Blog Tour supporting this release! The plot of this novel was simple, how far will you go for your happily ever after? For Evangeline Fox, it’s pretty damn far – so far, that she makes a deal with a Fate to help her win back the love of her life. From this somewhat simple deal, a dazzling story unfolds filled with adventure, magic, murder and mystery. This book also swooped in to save me from a pretty terrible reading slump, so I can’t recommend it enough! If you’re looking for more content on Once Upon A Broken Heart, check out the Author Q&A we did here or my full length review of the novel here.

Continuing on with favorite fantasy, I read and loved Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare. GOOD LORD was this a great book. This was the epic conclusion of the Dark Artifices trilogy (which is also my favorite trilogy that Clare has written to date). This book came in at over 900 pages and it did not feel that long! It read so fast that I found myself absolutely devouring it during Tome Topple Round 14 back in March. Since this is the last book in a series, I don’t want to go into much plot here to avoid spoilers (and I’m not going to talk much about the series because the Shadowhunter books are all so interconnected). If you’re a fan of fantasy, magic and memorable characters, the Shadowhunter Chronicles are for you. There’s a lot of “required reading” to be able to read this series but it’s all worth it. I was completely engrossed by all 3 books in this series and cannot praise them enough!

As I start to wind down my list, I feel like it’s only appropriate to include one of my favorite thrillers – Survive The Night by Riley Sager. I am quickly becoming a Riley Sager fan – I’ve read a few of his books and have a few more waiting on my Kindle. I’ve enjoyed each one and I think Survive The Night might be my favorite so far. This book takes place in the 90s, before cell phones and readily available technology. After Charlie Jordan’s roommate is murdered, she’ll do anything to get away from her college campus, including taking a ride home from a stranger who may or may not be a murderer. The story unfolds over the course of the night as her and her mysterious companion travel in his car. There’s an unreliable narrator and twists at every corner. There were quite a few things that caught me by surprise (and other things I saw coming a mile away) but overall, I loved this one. It was fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I’ve seen some reviews dragging this book but if you can suspend belief for awhile (and go back to a pre-technology time) I think you’re really going to like this one!

Last on my list is Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters by Kara Goldin. This was also a nonfiction read (look at me, 2 nonfiction titles in my Top 5 list) and it was utterly fantastic. Goldin is the CEO is one of my favorite beverage companies, Hint Water. Hint is an unsweetened water beverage that is PACKED with fruit flavors. I stumbled upon this company years and years ago at a local grocery store. I picked up a few bottles and have loved it ever since (ironically, I had a problem with a few of the bottles that I purchased – when I reached out, I ended up emailing back and forth with Kara’s husband, Theo). The only way I can explain this book is equal parts life advice, inspiration and entrepreneurialism. Goldin is so down to earth and relatable. When Goldin created Hint, she started the company as a way to drink more water and kick her Diet Coke habit. As you read her story, you come to find out that every product expansion or growth opportunity was born from something personal that Goldin cares deeply about. If you’re looking for some inspiration or just a feel-good story, be sure to pick this one up!

Well, that’s it. Those are my Top 5 books of 2021 that I just loved. I hope this post provided you with a few potential new titles to try or maybe I mentioned one of your favorite books! What did you read that was absolutely amazing last year? Leave me a comment or you can always tweet me @ItsMrGeekToYou.

Until We Meet Again,
Shawn

January ’22 Wrap Up

Hello readers!

It’s me, your favorite geek, back to recap the blink that was January. I still can’t believe the month is over already – January definitely went 80 mph in a 25 zone. I feel like I was just writing about my goals and reads for the month and now it’s almost February! The weather has been wickedly cold these last couple weekends which have been really helpful in catching up on my reading. I had an ok reading month but I somewhat deviated from my original plan. So without further ado, let’s talk about this month’s books!

A few years ago, I wanted to start off the year with Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I decided to go after that goal this year and start off 2022 as a Year of Yes. I both read and listened to this book (and Everything Is Figureoutable, which I’ll talk about next). Rhimes narrated the audiobook and it added such a personal element to the story. I don’t love nonfiction but this was really a home run. Rhimes was warm, relatable and extremely down to earth. She’s the writer of mega hits like Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder but she also struggles with the things a normal person does (weight, self confidence, staying within her comfort zone). If you’re looking for an inspiring, feel-good read, look no further!

After wrapping up Year of Yes, I moved onto Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo. As I mentioned, this was a read and listen combo as well. Forleo also narrated this one and her energy is infectious. You can feel it in her voice and her writing. This was a re-read for me and I enjoyed it as much as the first time I picked it up. You can’t help by feel inspired and optimistic when reading this one. The stories and anecdotes are extremely applicable and relatable.

Shifting gears, I flipped over to a thriller that has been sitting on my shelf for months, Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney. I LOVED Feeney’s debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, but wasn’t really drawn into this one. The premise sounded good – a couple wins a weekend away at a secluded chapel turned house (with an underlying notion that one of them isn’t leaving the chapel alive). Overall, this felt slightly boring and drab. Things finally started to pick up in the last 100 pages but I saw one of the twists coming from the beginning and the others were just very strange. I have another one of Feeney’s books in my backlog, I might get to it eventually but I think she’s going on the back burner for awhile.

The last book I started, and have been slowly making my way through, it Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff. While I am enjoying this book, it’s a bit of a slow burn. I’m a little over 100 pages in and I enjoy it when I sit down to read but don’t feel drawn to the book. The writing style does draw you in but I just don’t have that desire to pick it up (and it’s a long one, about 750 pages).

So that was my January. I have a Black History Month TBR planned for February and then I’m going to be trying something new for my March TBR. Make sure you stop back for all the details! How was your reading month? Pick up anything outstanding? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou).

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

September ’21 Wrap Up

Hello Readers!

It’s so hard to believe that September is over and we’re into the Fall season! I’m not going to lie, this is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. Unpopular Opinion: I am not a huge fan of Summer – it’s so hot, humid and uncomfortable. I’d take pretty much any other season but especially love the Fall – Pumpkin and Apple flavored things, cooler temperatures and comfortable clothes. Seriously, what is not to love?! I feel like I have FINALLY gotten myself out of the huge reading slump that I’ve spent most of this year in. September was a great reading month for me, so without further ado – let’s get onto the books I read!

First up was Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber. I was lucky enough to be included in a Blog Tour helping to promote Stephanie’s new book. I got an ARC and tore into it as soon as it arrived in the mail. I won’t spend a ton of time recapping here but definitely check out my full review here and the Author Q&A we did with Stephanie! This book was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. It was fast paced, interesting, had some very “fairy tale-esque” elements and overall was a really fun read. If you’ve read the Caraval series, this is a must read for you!

Next up was Tales From The Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare. For anyone who has been around this blog for a bit, you know I have a goal of reading my way through the Shadowhunter Chronicles. I finished Queen of Air & Darkness earlier this year and absolutely loved it. The Dark Artifices trilogy was by far my favorite so far. I want to move onto The Eldest Curses and The Last Hours trilogies but first I had to knock out this short story collection. Overall, I enjoyed this novellas. Revisiting some familiar faces (like Jem & Tessa) and meeting some new characters was great and I feel prepared for The Last Hours trilogy. Most of these stories were pretty interesting but there was the occasional dud thrown in there.

My final completed book of the month was For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing. HOLY. SHIT. This book was fantastic. It was a fast-paced, thrill ride from start to finish. I loved the dark academia setting! There were so many twists and turns throughout this book that I thought I was going to have whip lash. I’m hesitant to even give a summary of this book because I don’t want to spoil anything. Basically, Teach of the Year, Teddy Crutcher, does whatever he sees fit to help his students (for better or for worse). If you’re a fan of the thriller genre, give this one a try (and go into it blind). It’s such an enjoy book and it’ll definitely keep you guessing until the tail end. There are some pretty farfetched things that happen but, it’s a book, just roll with it!

I have a few books that I’ve started and haven’t finished (probably will wrap them up in October or November, planning a “Spooky” TBR for October, similar to what I did last year). The first was Under The Whispering Door by TJ Klune. I’m about 50% through this and while I’m enjoying it, reading has been a bit of a struggle. The subject matter of the book has been a little difficult to read so I’ve been picking away at this one whenever I can. The other book is When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink. This one has been pretty interesting. The book focuses on timing and when the best times are to make decisions, ask for favors or attempt a daunting task. More to come on these books soon in a future recap!

How was your September? Read anything good? Any important life events? Let me know in the comments!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

(Slumpy) August ‘21 Wrap Up

Hello Readers!

It has been a little while since I wrote. I never got around to creating my August TBR because I have been in a terrible, terrible, terrrrrrrrrrrrrrible reading slump. I haven’t been motivated to read for months (and I’m actually behind on my GoodReads goal which is the first time this has happened in 5 or 6 years). The books I’ve been picking up just haven’t been grabbing me and, instead of putting them down, I try to persevere which hasn’t been working out great for me.

For this month, I only finished 1 book (but have started several others, which I’m going to touch on). My only completed book this month was The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I did really enjoy it. I loved Michaelides debut novel, The Silent Patient, which came out a few years ago. It was intriguing, fast-paced and un-put-down-able. The Maidens is about a violent murder that happens at Cambridge University. When group therapist, Mariana, finds out it was her niece’s roommate, ends up becoming entrenched in the investigation. The Maidens was definitely more of a slow burn when compared to The Silent Patient. There was some setup needed before it really started to find its groove (but once it did, watch out). Overall, I enjoyed this (it was a nice beach read while I was on vacation).

The other books I’m currently reading (but haven’t finished) are: Tales From The Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare, Under The Whispering Door by TJ Klune (ARC – Out September 21, 2021) and Once Upon A Broken Heart (ARC – Out September 28, 2021). I typically take my time when reading Shadowhunter short story bind ups (I read them here to there as I have time). These have been pretty enjoyable and are gearing me up to read The Lost Hours trilogy later this year. I’ve been working my way through Under The Whispering Door for a few weeks (and it has contributed to my slump a bit). This book deals with life / death and is quite sad overall. I knew going into this novel, it was going to be nothing like House In The Cerulean Sea (which was one of my favorite reads of 2020). I’m about halfway through this one, so I’m going to save all my thoughts until I’m finished. The last book I have going, and just recently started, is Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber. My ARC arrived a few days ago and I immediately had to started it. I loved the Caraval trilogy and figured this book was going to be right up my alley (I was right). Once Upon A Broken Heart has really got me back into a reading groove and I’m hoping that this momentum continues! If you’re interested in this upcoming release, keep an eye on my blog for a full-length review post and author interview with Stephanie Garber!

If anyone has any recommendations for fast-paced books that helped you out of a reading slump, PLEASE leave them in the comments (especially since I have some catching up to do this year to meet my GoodReads goal).

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

July ’21 Wrap Up

I honestly can’t believe July has come and gone! My company gives us “Summer Hours” (aka 3 o’clock Fridays) from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I feel like these were just announced a couple weeks ago and now the summer is winding down! I had a great July, we were able to finally go on vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina and I think I am finally starting to work my way out of my reading slump (this didn’t happen until the latter half of the month). So, without further ado, let’s talk about what I read!

The first book I, finally, finished in July was The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold. This was a really, really unique book that was unfortunately about a pandemic. This was definitely a long, drawn out read for me. The story is told from multiple perspectives and it’s extremely confusing when you start out. The book started to come together for me about halfway through but I just wasn’t in the mood to read about a global pandemic (when I’ve been living that for the last 18 months). I knocked out The Electric Kingdom right before leaving for vacation.

While I was at the beach, I managed to read about 1.5 books, starting with The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. This was was AMAZING until the end. One day, Hannah Hall turns on the news and sees her husband, Owen’s, company has been raided for illegal activities. A duffle bag of money shows up at Hannah’s door with a note saying “Protect Her,” the her being Hannah’s High School aged step daughter (Bailey). Thus begins a wild mystery where Hannah and Bailey try to unravel the truth and find out what happened to Owen. This was such an engrossing and fast read. The pages seriously flew by (I read a large chunk of this one on the airplane). The ending was a serious letdown. It just had all the building and build for what, I thought, was a lackluster conclusion. It was still a great and fast read but I think there could’ve been a much better closing. The one vacation read I brought was The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. I absolutely LOVED his debut, The Silent Patient, from a few years ago. I got this book for my birthday and couldn’t wait to tear into it! The Maidens was about a murder that takes place at Cambridge University. The main character, Mariana, has a niece, Zoe, who goes to the school. The murder victim was Zoe’s roommate. From here the story starts to unfold. The Maidens was an excellent overall book but it definitely had a slower start that took 50 or so pages to really get going. There was a lot of setup and exploration in a dark academia backdrop. I really enjoyed the nods to Greek mythology and there were even a few Silent Patient Easter eggs as well!

The last book I decided on was a library eBook, Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran. Wow. This was SUCH a letdown. During the pandemic, I struggled to find engaging shows that were short and could hold my attention. A friend started watching Younger so I thought I’d give it a try. The premise was interesting, a 40-something Liza gets divorced and tries to reenter the working world after being a stay at home Mom for the last 20 years. With this huge gap on her resume, no one will give her a chance. That’s when she decides to reinvent herself – a new hair style, new clothes and she can easily pass as a 20-something. The show was funny, endearing and very binge-able. This is one of the RARE cases where I enjoyed the show so much more than the book. There were actually very few similarities between the show and book. Even the main character, Liza, was name Alice in the book. The novel lacked the charm and charism that the show honestly oozed. The cast was funny, likable and you were curious to see what happened next, this did not translate to the printed page. If you’re intrigued by this synopsis, give the show a try on Hulu and skip the book.

Well, that’s my month in a nutshell! I read some winners and some losers but, overall, I’m feeling good! I think I’m finally back on track with my reading and am anxious to tackle my August TBR (which that post is coming later this week, so keep an eye out)! Did you read anything good in July? What are your favorite books that knocked you out of a reading slump (I’d like to queue up a few to keep in reserve).

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

March ’21 Wrap Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

That’s A Wrap: Tome Topple, Round 14!

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

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

Tome Topple Round 14 “Bingo” Card

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

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

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

February ’21 Wrap Up: BHM Edition

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

January ’21 Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek