Once Upon A Broken Heart Author Q & A with Stephanie Garber!

Hello readers!

I am coming at you today with a VERY special blog post. A little over a month ago, I was asked if I would be interested in participating in a Blog Tour to support Stephanie Garber’s upcoming release, Once Upon A Broken Heart. After taking a few minutes to contain my excitement, I quickly replied to the email from Flatiron that I would love to participate! In addition to receiving an ARC of Once Upon A Broken Heart, which I just finished moments before writing this post and freaking loved, several participating bloggers (including yours truly) were asked to submit questions for a Q & A with Stephanie.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Once Upon A Broken Heart, here’s a quick synopsis to catch you up:

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings…until she learns that the love of her life will marry another. 

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic, but wicked, Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game — and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

So, without further ado, lets dive into the questions (I’ve also linked to the other blogs down below in case you’d like to check them out as well)!

We know the Prince of Hearts, Jacks, plays a leading role in Once Upon A Broken Heart. Can readers expect any other familiar faces from the Caraval series? 

www.TreatYoShelf.blog

Stephanie: I usually try not to answer this question — I like it when people don’t know what to expect. So, I won’t say if there will be any other familiar faces in Once Upon A Broken Heart. But I will say that readers might meet one or two characters who were mentioned in the Caraval series but didn’t actually get any page time. 

Why do you love Evangeline and the Prince of Hearts and why should readers root for them?

www.ElevenThirteenPM.com

Stephanie: This is such a funny question, and I feel as if I shouldn’t confess the answer to this because I actually wrote Once Upon A Broken Heart with the hope that readers would feel as if Evangeline should run far away from Jacks, but at the same time really want them to kiss each other. 

I love Jacks because he’s pretty much the worst. He says terrible things and he does terrible things—which is why Evangeline should stay away from him. However, I love Evangeline because she’s such an optimist—I love that she believes in love at first sight and happily ever after, and even though she should probably run away from Jacks, I think she’s just the type of girl he needs in his life. 

Your books always read like fairytales (at least for me)! What are your favorite fairytales?

www.AlexaLovesBooks.com

Stephanie: Thank you so much! I love fairytales and I have so many favorites. My very favorite is anything that’s Beauty and the Beast inspired. I love stories that involve truly unlikeable beast-like characters changing as they fall in love, and I’m always sucker for the kidnapped/captive girl trope. 

If you could be transported into the world of ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART, what kind of character do you think you would be and would you be easily swayed to make a deal with a Fate?

www.ACourtofCoffeeandBooks.com

Stephanie: Ooh, this is such a fun question. I want to say that I’d make a deal with a Fate because I think it would be interesting and exciting. But, I probably wouldn’t actually make a deal with a Fate because I know it never ends well. I’d most likely stay away from all things Fate and spend time seeing the wonders of the Magnificent North. I’d eat dragon roasted apples, hunt for enchanted books, look for mermaids in the ocean, and hopefully get in a little magical trouble, but not the kind that involves Fates.

Which one of your characters do you relate to the most and why? Are there pieces of yourself in both Evangeline and Jacks?

www.MermaidReadsBookBlog.wordpress.com

Stephanie: There are always pieces of me in my heroines. I think Evangeline has a lot of my positivity and my optimism. I’m hopefully not like Jacks, but I will admit that I do relate to his character. I tend to hold onto things from the past, especially heartbreak, which is something that I have in common with the Prince of Hearts. 

Well there you have it friends! Hopefully this Q & A helped satisfy your excitement (or maybe it just fanned the flame) for Once Upon A Broken Heart! I want to give a HUGE shoutout and thank you to Flatiron Books for including me in this Blog Tour and to Stephanie Garber for taking the time to answer the questions user in this Q & A. Stay tuned for my full, spoiler-free, review coming to Treat Yo Shelf later this week!

As a reminder, Once Upon A Broken Heart is out September 28th, 2021 and is currently available for preorder!

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

June ’21 Recap + July ’21 TBR

Hello Friends!

As I previously mentioned, I have been in a MASSIVE reading slump. I felt like I couldn’t get into a groove – plus, I wasn’t really feeling the book I was reading, so I started several books all at once which put me into a major hole. June was a bit of a rough month but I’m off to a STRONG start in July. Let’s chat about June first and then onto what I’m thinking for July!

In the month of June, I was able to finally finish Mistborn (The Final Empire). I started this waaaaay back in April and, while I enjoyed it, there was a lot of world building / explanation about the magic system. This was all necessary and important information, but it really slowed down the story for me. I fully intent to continue the series and am optimistic that the next books will move at a much faster pace (since such a strong foundation has been built)! The other book that I knocked out in June was Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters by Kara Goldin (the founder of Hint Water). I have always enjoyed Hint Water and REALLY enjoyed this story. I bought read this on Kindle and listened to the audiobook (which was narrated by Goldin). The story was a mix of entrepreneurial insights, sticking to your beliefs and a pretty inspirational biography. I did read this one rather quickly (but it was on the shorter side, clocking in around 260 pages). Goldin came across as down to earth and relatable, which I absolutely loved. Unfortunately, those were the only books I finished during June.

Flipping over to July. I’m currently writing this post from the sunny state of South Carolina (Hilton Head Island). This is our first family vacation in about 3 years and boy was I ready for this trip! Leading up to vacation, I finished The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold. This was a bit of a mixed bag for me. It was a very confusing story (which is the point) and it slowly unpacks over the course of the novel… Oh… and it’s also about a pandemic. This probably wasn’t the right book for me to be reading right now but live and learn. I finished this one shortly before we left for our trip. Since the trip started, I finished “The Last Thing He Told Me” by Laura Dave. Thoughts on these two books, plus anything else I tackle this month will be included in my monthly wrap up! I just started The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. I was a HUGE fan of The Silent Patient, so I have high expectations for this new release. I’m already about 30 pages in and really enjoying it so far! If I finish The Maidens before the end of the week, I’ll probably start a Kindle book. Since I’ve been reading a lot of thrillers lately, I’m thinking I’ll opt for something in a different genre – maybe something Magic For Liars, This Savage Song, Malibu, Piranesi, Realm Breaker or Senlin Ascends. I’m even tossing the idea of reading a few short story novellas from Kindle Unlimited. Only time will tell!

How has your summer reading been going? Read anything you just want to rave about? Have any recommendations for me? Going anywhere fun on vacation? Let me know in the comments!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Let’s Go! Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon Has Begun!

As I mentioned earlier this week – Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon will be happening today! By the time this post goes live, the read-a-thon will have already begun! Wanted to put together a quick announcement post about how I’ll be helping out and what book I’ve decided to try to tackle today!

To start, I’ll be hosting a variety of events this morning! At 10 am & 11 am, I’ll be posting over on the Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon Blog to provide some fun and motivation to get your day started! At 10 am, I’ll also be hosting a Mini-Challenge. The Mini-Challenge is to create a list of all the characters you read about during the 10 am hour. Once you’re done, you have to rename yourself and select one of the names that you read about! At 11 am, I’ll be hosting a Twitter party for all of the current readers. Be sure to hope on Twitter, give me a follow and participate – it’ll definitely be a good time! I’ll also be tweeting through the day and posting some quick updates here on the blog! All of the times I previously mentioned are EST.

Lastly, I’ve decided to try to start and finish Survive The Night by Riley Sager! I was lucky enough to be given an ARC of this upcoming release (Thank you, again, Dutton Publishing!). For those of you who haven’t heard about this book, here’s a quick summary:

Survive The Night by Riley Sager

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately so I am hoping this book knocks me out of it! The synopsis sounds promising and I’m a big fan of Sager’s other books so I am hopeful this is just what the doctor ordered!

I’ll be checking in later today – hope you all have a successful read-a-thon and remember to enjoy yourself!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon Warm Up: To Persevere or To DNF?

Hello readers! After an extremely busy past couple of weeks, I’m finally getting my reading life back on track (and the timing couldn’t be better)! This coming weekend (April 24), is next round of Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon! I am thrilled to be returning as a co-host plus I’ll be leading a Twitter party and a mini challenge! I’ve also already picked out my book for the read-a-thon but more on that later!

As we’re all warming up for the read-a-thon, I thought what better time to discuss the somewhat controversial topic of DNF’ing books. For those of you who don’t love acronyms, DNF stands for Did Not Finish. I thought this was a perfect topic to cover in my warm up post because as we’re all settling in for 24 hours of reading, you NEED to enjoy the book you’re reading!

Personally, if I start a book I always finish it. It doesn’t matter if I love it or hate it – I always persevere through until the end. My one little caveat is that I will sometimes “take a break” from a book to read something else, picking up my previously abandoned book here and there to chip away at it as time goes on. I love to write book reviews and feel like I can only do that if I complete the book. I’ve persevered through some really bad books like The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor (funny GoodReads review can be found here). So I’m curious, what’s your take on DNF’ing books? Do you read 25%? 50%? 75%? Before deciding it’s not for you and calling it quits? If you DNF a book, do you still write a review? Do you still give it a rating? Do you still count it towards your GoodReads challenge (for those of you who participate)? I’m really hoping all these questions stimulate some good conversation (also, this is a no judgement zone, if you frequently DNF I applaud you and want to learn your ways)!

Before signing off, I want to briefly talk about the book I selected for the read-a-thon! I was granted an ARC of Riley Sager’s upcoming release, Survive The Night and plan on reading this (hopefully) from start to finish during the read-a-thon. I am an avid thriller reader and am very excited to diving into this book. For those of you who haven’t heard of this book, here’s the synopsis:

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

I’ve read several of Sager’s books so far (The Final Girls and Lock Every Door). I find his writing to be engrossing and oh so addicting! This new novel seems eerie, creepy, thrilling and right up my alley! I’ll be posting spoiler-free updates about this book during the read-a-thon and a full length review after I finish! If you’re a fan of thrillers, definitely keep an eye out! Survive The Night will be officially released on June 29, 2021!

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

March ’21 TBR

2021 is moving at an uncomfortably fast pace. Truth be told, I am still processing LAST March when the pandemic really start to begin. My company had us begin working from home on March 16th, so that’s also coming up on its 1 year anniversary already (which is hard for me to believe). About this time last year, I really started to struggle to find my reading groove. There were so many unknowns and I just couldn’t focus on what I was reading (or really anything, if I’m being honest). I’m happy to say that I am in a much better spot, mentally, this year and have been absolutely crushing my reading so far! I have a fun and reasonable TBR planned for March, so let’s dive into the books!

I’m going to be tackling some short-ish books to start off the month because I want to be able to promptly start off Tome Topple Round 14 whenever it kicks off (more on that later). My first book I’m reading Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson. I’ve been a Swanson fan since The Kind Worth Killing. The plot of this book sounds like it’s going to be a fast-paced thrill ride. A local book store owner creates a list of the top 8 most unsolvable murders of the mystery genre. Soon after, the FBI show up and start asking questions. Apparently there’s a copycat murderer on the loose who’s killing individuals that follow the list! Next up, will be Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. Since Dexter is getting a reboot later this year, I wanted to pick back up the series and revisit this world. Dearly Devoted Dexter is the second book in the series and continues to extend the story from book one (Darkly Dreaming Dexter). Depending on how much time I have left, I might also try to squeeze in Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi. Destroy Me is the first novella in the Shatter Me series and takes place between books one and two. I’d like to try to read at least the first half of this series this year (maybe I’ll get adventurous and read the entire thing). It’s funny, I was just talking tonight about how I need to get better about committing to reading series in a timely fashion. In the past, I’ve never enjoyed binge reading series but I think I am going to take another shot at that this year.

All of these shorter books are to position me well to start Tome Topple on time. I am happy to announce that I’ll be back as a co-host for Round 14!! I have a formal announcement post coming later this week with all the details for this round, including my TBR and all of the reading prompts! Be sure to check back!!

March is sure to be a fun month and I’m looking forward to all the books I have planned! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What did you think? Are you a Dexter fan? Excited about the reboot coming this Fall? As always, I love chatting with you so please sure to leave a comment or tweet me @ItsMrGeekToYou on Twitter!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Top 5 Favorite Books of 2020

Earlier this week, I talked about my Top 5 Biggest Book Disappointments of 2020. I specifically decided to call out BOOK disappointments, because otherwise the entire year would’ve been featured on that list!

Just me trying to make it through 2020 in one piece…

I really shouldn’t complain. While this was a total dumpster fire of a year, I did get a chance to read a ton of great books! When the pandemic first began, I really struggled to settle into a new routine and adjust to this “new normal.” My reading definitely took a nose-dive because I just couldn’t focus on my books with everything happening in the world. Thankfully, by the Summer months I got myself back on track! Deciding which books to feature here really was a challenge! I’m going to keep the summaries short but I’ve included a blurb about what my this book so great (in my opinion). After that long intro, it’s time to talk great books!! (My list will be in my reading chronological order through the year, starting January to December).

Kicking off this list is Oona Out Of Order by Margarita Montimore! What an absolute joy and refreshing deviation from my standard genres! This was a story about a woman who, starting on her 19th birthday, begins living her life out of order. Each birthday she time hops to a different age, 19 – 54 – 37 – 78. What really made this a memorable reading experience were the life lessons and fantastic quotes sprinkled throughout this novel. Each year Oona lives teaches her something which I found to be interesting and applicable to my life. Montimore also had some truly noteworthy quotes, my favorite being: All good things end, always. The trick is to enjoy them while they last. As I look into 2021, this is something that’s going to stick with me. Savor these enjoyable moments because you never know how long that are going to last.

Next up we have House In The Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune. A good friend of mine recommended this book to me and I am so glad she did! Cerulean Sea is the story of a social work name Linus, who handles orphanages for “special children.” One day Linus gets a high-priority assignment and is asked to travel to a very… unique… orphanage. There he meets an eclectic group of people that turn his entire life upside down. Each of the children has a very distinct personality that adds so much charm and dimension to the story. To put it simply, this book is perfection. While this was a work of fiction, Klune does an incredible job weaving in relevant parallels to what’s happening in today’s world (like prejudice and discrimination). If you’re looking for a feel-good story, look no further than The House In The Cerulean Sea!

Starting last year, I decided I wanted to read all of the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. I started off strong, reading The Mortal Instruments trilogy (Part 1, Books 1 – 3), The Infernal Devices trilogy and started The Mortal Instruments Part 2 (Book #4, City of Fallen Angels). This year, I finished off the last 2 books in part 2 of The Mortal Instruments, the supplemental short story bind ups and moved onto The Dark Artifices. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare was my favorite entry in this world to date. The writing was engaging and the plot centered around a mystery. It was a wild ride from the first page to the very last! What really cemented this book’s spot on my Top 5 list was the fact that it was nearly 700 and it didn’t feel nearly that long. The story was meaningful and there wasn’t fluff or filler. I’m currently reading Lord of Shadows and I’m anxious to see where the story goes from here!

My next book, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, was a bit of a toss up. I was conflicted including this because it has already received SO much praise this year already. If you haven’t heard of this book (first of all, where have you been?), it’s the story of Adeline LaRue who makes a deal with a Dark God to change her fate and have the life she always dreamed of. The catch? As soon as Addie leaves your vision, you forget her… until she finally meets someone who remembers. Similar to Oona Out Of Order, Addie LaRue is not my typical genre of book but I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was an epic story, that needed to be told, and Schwab crafted it would masterful precision. I was nervous about how this was all going to wrap up but the ending was utter perfection. It was a great culmination to a fantastic tale

Finally, rounding out this list is, Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman. This was one of the last books I read this year and I ENJOYED IT. I’ve read several of Bachman’s other works (A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry). Both of these novels were wonderful and definitely tugged a bit at the heartstrings. I went into Anxious People expecting a lighthearted and funny story about a bank robbery gone wrong. This wasn’t quite what I got. The novel had a much more serious and somber tone since suicide plays a large role in the plot. There was a large cast of characters but Bachman did a great job giving each one a distinct voice so you never mixed them up. While suicide is at the center of the book, the story manages to be uplifting and center on healing. Give this one a whirl if you need a little optimism in your life.

I would like to cheat and add one final “Honorable Mention” which is Atomic Habits by Jame Clear. It’s really hard to put this book up against some of the incredible fiction I’ve previously mentioned but I had to still mention this book. I absolutely loved it and thought the advice was so applicable. Clear does a great job making the advice relatable and useful (as opposed to most of the other self-help / development books I’ve read). He’s easy to connect to and doesn’t come across as condescending. A MUST read if you’re looking to build new, or break existing, habits!

And there you have it! My Top 5 Favorite Books of 2020. While this year wasn’t quite exactly what I was hoping it would be, I learned a little and ended up reading a lot. I’m hopeful that 2021 will be the year we’ve all earned and deserve!

Have you read any of my favorites? What did you think? Any recommendations on “Must Read” books for 2021? Leave your favorites in the comments – let’s face it, my TBR is never going to shrink!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Top 5 Biggest Book Disappointments of 2020

As we’re winding down 2020, which has been THE most disappointing year of my life, I thought what best post to kick off with than the reads I was really looking forward to but did not deliver! All of the books featured in this post were ones that I thought I was going to absolutely love but ended up feeling less than satisfied. On that note, let’s jump into some disappointment!

My biggest disappointment of the year has to go to YOU by Caroline Kepnes. When YOU was released on Netflix, I quickly binged Season 1. When I realized the show was based on a book, I knew I had to read it! In the show, the main character (Joe) was a creepy but likable anti-hero. Even though he had some sick, twisted ideas you still wanted to root for him. In the book, we got more of Joe’s internal dialogue which was vulgar and over-the-top. I won’t be reading Hidden Bodies or the other 2 books that have been announced. I will, however, be continuing to watch the Netflix series!

Next up on my list is another thriller-is book, Everyone Knows How Much I Love You by Kyle McCarthy. I received an ARC of this book and was excited when I got my approval email. This sounded like it was going to be a quick, fun and toxic book that was going to whip through in a single sitting. The main character was demented and the story was outrageous. Initially, I didn’t understand why this book was getting such bad reviews on GoodReads and Netgalley. Then I hit the middle. The whole tone of the book changes and the main character engaged in an affair with her best friend / roommates boyfriend. The fling was disturbingly graphic and really did nothing to advance the story. Eventually, this part of the novel ends and the story gets back on track. The ending, however, was so random and strange that I didn’t understand how we even got there. McCarthy definitely tried to be edgy, shocking and unique but these efforts completely fell flat.

I’ve always loved the idea of self-help books but they tend to never deliver the content I’m expecting. A prime example of this is How To Lead When You Aren’t In Charge by Clay Scroggins. There was an overabundance of religious references, “God’s Plan” and it generally lacked any actual leadership advice. I opted to listen to the audiobook and Scroggins voice sounded like a used car salesman. At one point he even spoke some rap lyrics and I cringed so hard it physically hurt. This was a HUGE pass for me!

We’re over halfway through and winding down. The next book, for me, was a personal disappointment: Eldest by Christopher Paolini. I read Eragon years ago and loved it. I loved the sense of adventure, dragons and epic story. I was looking forward to continuing the journey and decided to pick this up for a round of Tome Topple. To start, this book was unnecessarily long (200 pages could’ve easily been cut). Multiple POVs is usually something that I enjoy but the storylines were BORING. Initially, I was really invested in one of the stories. Eventually that interest fizzled out and I had to slough through the rest of the book to finish it.

The final book rounding out this list is Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I remember when this book was released earlier this year. It was sold out on Amazon and I saw a ton of Bloggers, Bookstagrams and YouTubers RAVING about this horror novel. Eventually I snagged a copy for my Kindle and decided to read it during October when I read only horror books. This wasn’t an overly long book but after the first 50 pages things really slowed down and nothing really happened. The story continued to crawl for the next 150 pages. Once I was about 100 pages from the ending, the plot found it’s groove and moved like wildfire until I turned the last page. After all the praise, I was expecting something a little more addicting and had to put down.

So there you have it, my top 5 biggest book disappointments of the year! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Were you also disappointed or did you love them? What are some of your biggest book disappointments of the year? Leave me a note in the comments if you agree/disagree and any books I should avoid!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek