Anything But Books Tag!

Hello Readers!

I thought I would do something a little different for this post. I was browsing around YouTube and saw that Sam from Thoughts On Tomes recently did the “Anything But Books” Tag. Sam didn’t tag anyone in specific to do that tag and instead left it open-ended: If you see this video, considered yourself tagged. Since I’m not one to walk away from a challenge, I figured I’d give this a shot. Plus this will be more of a personal post, so hopefully everyone gets to know me just a little more! So without further ado, let’s go!

1) What is something that you own way too many of (besides books)?

This is an easy one, video games! I have a ridiculously large video game collection that spans decades and multiple generations of consoles (many of which I still own). Current gen, I own an Xbox One, PS5 and OLED Switch. My favorite console is a toss up between the PS5 and the OLED Switch (I do own a disgusting amount of Switch games, both digital and physical). My favorite genre is definitely RPGs (Role Playing Games), specifically either turn based or strategy, but I’ll play almost anything. This month I’m really looking forward to Shin Megami Tensei 5 and Pokémon Shining Diamond & Luminous Pearl (talk about opposite ends of the spectrum).

2) What’s something that you do for fun that’s not reading?

I have a few hobbies. I’d say my biggest is that I am an avid golfer. During the summer months, I play in a work league plus try to sneak out for a couple additional rounds each month. I started playing when I was in 3rd grade and have been playing ever since (which is a very, very long time now). Other than that, I love wine and coffee. I’m always on the lookout to try something new. I’m also a huge technology geek and love Apple products (this also could’ve qualified for question 1 since I buy pretty much everything they put out… as I type this on an iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard).

3) What is something special or important on your night stand that’s not a book?

My nightstand is pretty much just books or my Kindle so….. I guess I’d have to go with either my glasses or my MagSafe Duo Charger. I am mildly nearsighted, just enough to make it annoying. I typically wear contacts but do wear my glasses each night a couple hours before bed. My MagSafe Duo Charger simultaneously charges my Apple Watch and iPhone each night (see what I mean about a lot of Apple products). Fun Fact: I take the iPhone release day off of work each year to go pick up my new phone – one of my favorite annual traditions!

4) What’s something you buy at a bookstore other than books?

I usually only buy books at bookstores but I have been known to pick up the occasional magazine or Funko Pop. I recently got a free 6 month subscription to Apple News+ which gives you access to a nice catalog of magazines each month. Typically I go for tech or gaming magazines. I used to LOVE Nintendo Power when I was going up. It was always a great day when the new issue arrived!

5) What a fun gift that you have received that wasn’t a book or a gift card for books?

My Mum is seriously a thoughtful and excellent gift giver. I’m going to go with last year’s Christmas gift. She ordered me “The 12 Days Of Christmas” wine edition. Funny long story short. She ordered this and it was going to be delivered to our house. There was a slot you opened each day of the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Well this was the heart of the pandemic and FedEx wouldn’t ring our doorbell (which all wine shipments require a signature). The wine ended up getting returned which completely devastated my Mum. She is not one to easily be defeated though – she made her own 12 Days of Wine for me by hand which was probably more awesome than the original gift!

6) What’s a YouTube channel you watch that’s not related to books?

Based on my previous answers, these will come as a shock to no one. If I’m not watch book content on YouTube, I’m watching either something on video games, Apple / Tech or organization. Some of my favorite channels are Mobile Reviews Eh, Nintendo and Beat ‘Em Ups!

So that’s it! Hopefully you enjoyed this post and also learned a little more about my. I’m going to take the same approach that Sam did and, if you’re reading this post, consider yourself tagged!

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

December ’20 TBR

Well friends, here we are. We’ve almost made it through 2020 and what a year this has been. About halfway way through this dumpster fire, I decided I was going to reclaim 2020 and try to make the most of this latter half of the year. Part of this resolution was starting this blog! This has been quite the adventure so far, produced some really unexpected experiences and lead to some great book friends! I’m anxious to see what 2021 holds for this blog and the rest of my life! Without further ado, let’s getting into the books I’m going to try to tackle this month!

I’m posting this a little later than I was originally anticipating, but hey, that’s life! So far I’ve knocked out two books, Legendborn bu Tracy Deonn and The Hand On The Wall by Maureen Johnson. Both of these books were pretty great but I’ll save my more in-depth thoughts for my wrap up at the end of the month!

Next up, I’m reading Follow Me by Kathleen Barker. I was itching for a full-blown thriller novel and this is absolutely going to satisfy that urge! I’m already about 50 pages in and completely hooked. This isn’t some lyrical masterpiece but it has grabbed ahold of me and I’m expecting a wild ride!

My goal to read 52 books is still in full swing! At this point, after I finished Follow Me, I will need to read 2 additional books. I started The Shadowhunter’s Codex back in April (which was, at most, a month or two ago), so I’m FINALLY going to finish that off. For my last book of the year, I think I’m going to pick up either Vengeful bu V.E. Schwab, Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay or Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (or maybe none of these and I’ll just grab something random from my shelf or Kindle instead).

If I manage to hit 52 books before the end of the month, I’m probably going to move onto Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Getting a head start on that almost 800 page beast will be awesome – plus I am really looking forward to getting back to that series. Lady Midnight was one of my favorite books this year and I can’t wait to knock off the rest of that series so I can start The Last Hours trilogy!

As we’re winding down this year, I’m hopeful for 2021. I’m looking forward to opportunities here on this blog, at work and in life. Stay tuned for my December wrap up coming in a couple short weeks!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

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

Tome Topple Round 13: Announcement + TBR

Hello my fellow readers!

I am happy to announce that I am going to be helping to co-host the upcoming Tome Topple Read-A-Thon (Round 13)! For those of you who aren’t familiar, Tome Topple is a read-a-thon created by Sam from Thoughts On Tomes. The object is simple, read some chunky books that are over 500 pages! Throughout these 2 weeks, there’s a team of great people who will be hosting reading sprints, Instagram challenges and they even introduced a Discord channel this year for live chatting! Another fun element of this read-a-thon is the “bingo” card they adopted earlier this year! The object isn’t to get bingo but an organized way to track your reading prompts!

The prompts for Round 13 are as follows:
– Tome on your TBR the longest
– Tome you started in another round (of Tome Topple)
– Tome in a series you haven’t read in awhile (“awhile” is subjective and completely up to you)
– Tome in a genre you don’t normally read
– Read 1 tome
– Read a seasonally colored tome
– Read an audiobook tome
– Most recently acquired tome
– Tome by an indigenous author*

*I’m going to include a list of books by indigenous authors at the end of this post, for those who are interested!

My Tome Topple TBR

With each round of Tome Topple, I get progressively better – making more and more progress on my TBR! I am going to set the bar high this round to help motivate me to read more. One day, I hope to hit Scholar status but for now, I’m going to work for Sage!

I’m going to start off with The Toll by Neal Schusterman. This is the third and final book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy. Scythe (Book 1) was the first book I read this year and I absolutely loved it. It was interesting, fast paced and an absolutely fantastic read! I picked up Thunderhead (Book 2) in April and also thoroughly enjoyed that entry. I wanted to read the entire trilogy this year and I’m going to accomplish that goal! Next up, I am going to give Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. Legendborn has been getting RAVE reviews lately and I’ve heard that it’s an absolutely fantastic read. I’ve read the summary and the premise seems right up my alley! My last book that I hope to tackle is The Last Empire by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve been wanting to read Sanderson’s The Starlight Archive for quite awhile. The recommended reading order has always been to start with Mistborn trilogy before flipping over to The Stormlight Archives. I thought now would be the perfect time to get started. Plus, I can continue the next 2 books in this series in December or early next year!

So there you have! A quick breakdown of Tome Topple and all of the books I hope to read this round! I’m really looking forward to co-hosting and reading all of the big books. Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou) + @Tome_Topple and all of the other co-hosts! Are you planning to join in? What books are on your TBR?

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NATIVE AMERICAN/INDIGENOUS TOMES
Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Benang: From the Heart by Kim Scott
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
The Red Convertible: Selected and New Stories, 1978-2008 by Louise Erdrich
The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King
Carpentaria by Alexis Wright

Get Ready: Dewey’s 24 Hour October Read-A-Thon!

When 2020 kicked off, I had lofty goals and expectations for the year. 2019, in general, wasn’t a great. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and underwent a pretty extensive treatment over the summer between that and his recovery the year was pretty bleak. I remember us sitting at dinner on New Year’s Eve, toasting that we were happy for 2019 to be behind us and ready for a fresh start in 2020. This year has not been ideal but I’ve been managing to find nuggets of happiness along the way. Early into the pandemic I struggled to read and found myself generally anxious about life and unable to focus on my books (granted, there were a lot of unknowns about work, life and what was going to happen next). As we shift into the latter half of 2020, I seem to have fallen into a nice reading groove and am working on accomplishing my stretch goal of 52 books for the year!

I’ve found that by joining read-a-thons, it gave me a greater sense of focus and allowed me to turn my reading into a bit of a game. One of the first read-a-thons I joins this year was Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon. 24 hours dedicated to nothing but reading! I live on the East Coast and love the fact that this one starts at 8 am (my time). When Kate, from Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon, was looking for volunteers to help co-host this October read-a-thon I knew I had to sign up!

My blog, Treat Yo Shelf, was inspired by Parks & Recc and the greatest day of the year: Treat Yo Self. I’ve always been an enabler and an advocate for splurging on that new book! This October, Treat Yo Shelf and Dewey’s are coming together, to encourage readers throughout the country to go buy a new book and read along with me for 24 hours!

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon starts on October 24th at 8 am (EST)! I’ll be hosting a mini challenge (follow me on Twitter for updates, if you aren’t already, @ItsMrGeekToYou) and I’ll be co-hosting a couple of hours late into the read-a-thon! Hope you are able to join in on the fun! If you have questions, let me know in the comments!

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