Tome Topple: Round 13 / November Recap

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

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

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

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

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

Tome Topple Wrap Up

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

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

Until we meet again,
Mr Geek

October ’20 Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

September ’20 Wrap Up

The last thing I remember is writing my September 20′ TBR post, I blinked and now the month is over! Generally speaking, September was extremely enjoyable. My pumpkin addiction is off to a strong start, I spent most of my time reading with a Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew in one hand and a book in the other (not a sponsored post, but… Hey Starbucks, if you’re looking for a book influencer partnership, hit me up). The temperate has dropped these last couple of weeks and for the first time in ages, we’re having some Fall temperatures in Pittsburgh. As my golf season began to wind down, my reading season ramped up. I read a lot of great books this month and stuck, mostly, to the TBR I set for myself! Let’s jump into my reads!

I kicked off the month with my ARC of Wendy Walker’s new book, DON’T LOOK FOR ME. This was a fantastic thriller that I absolutely tore through. The premise was very interesting and engaging. As I started to get closer and closer to the end, I had to know what was going to happen (and ended up reading 200+ pages on a Sunday afternoon so I could finish it). Take a look at my full review here. While I was reading DON’T LOOK FOR ME, I also was listening to the audiobook of Bossypants by Tina Fey. I am a HUGE Tina Fey fan but was quite disappointed in her book when I first read it nearly a decade ago (it hurts saying that). A friend from work recently recommended the audiobook so I thought I’d give it another go and I’m really glad that I did! Fey narrated the audiobook and it really added to the overall story. Her tales felt more personal and it was so much easier to connect with her.

After that first set of books, I moved onto The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson. I read Truly Devious last year and thought it was an ok book. My biggest gripe was that it felt like a really, really long book that was broken into 3 parts. By the end of book 1, I had more questions than answers and felt extremely satisfied. I really enjoyed The Vanishing Stair much more than Truly Devious. The plot felt like it started to come together better and I started seeing the end in sight. I’m planning on picking up The Hand On The Wall sometime soon so I can polish off this series by the end of the year. After The Vanishing Stair, I detoured from my TBR to read The Girl Who Drank The Moon. Regan, from PeruseProject on YouTube, read this book earlier in the year and completely raved about it. I was able to get this book for a steal on Amazon and decided to pick it up and read it immediately (very unlike me). This was a middle grade book but I thought the story was well done and very engaging. The characters were likable and I was a little surprised by the twist towards the end!

As the end of the month was approaching, I decided to dive into the audiobook of Camino Winds by John Grisham and the eBook of The Last Flight by Julie Clark. Last year, I read Camino Island. It was my first Grisham novel and it was… fine. I wasn’t overly impressed. The story was interesting and kept me engaged but the end definitely had my scratching my head saying “That’s it?!” Going into Camino Winds, I expected to a get a little resolution that I was lacking from Camino Island. I was extremely disappointed. This book revisits some of the characters from the previous entry but overall it was its own story. It really could be considered a stand alone novel. There was hardly any overlap in story and the few nods to book 1 weren’t critical information. It was an entertaining and engaging read but overall, I wasn’t really impressed. I’m not quite finished with The Last Flight at the time of writing this post (~60% done) but I am thoroughly enjoying it! I was itching for an addictive thriller and this is definitely hitting the spot. This book is also told using dual timelines, which I LOVE. The perspective shifts each chapter between present day and roughly 6 months ago. I’m hoping to finish this up by Friday so I can dive into my “Spooky” TBR over the weekend.

What did you read in September? Anything good? Anything terrible? Sound off in the comments with TBR recommendations or books I should steer clear of! As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter and add me on GoodReads (@ItsMrGeekToYou on both sites)!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek