Author Interview: Margarita Montimore, Author Of “Acts Of Violet” and “Oona Out Of Order”

Hello Readers!

Today I am coming at you with a VERY special post… and probably one of my favorite posts I’ll ever write! I’ve been working with Flatiron Books for the last year and was offered an ARC of Margarita Montimore’s new book, Acts of Violet. I quite literally jumped at the opportunity to get my hands on this release early. For those of you who don’t know, I adored her last book, Oona Out Of Order, and named it one of my favorite books of 2020. It’s a captivating tale of Oona Lockhart who begins to live her life, one year at a time, out of order. On each birthday, she randomly jumps to a new age, going from 36 to 25 to 68 and so on. The only memories she has are those that she lived through and it left to fill in the gaps as so goes. It’s charming, filled with heart and so much personality – it’s impossible to not fall in love with the characters! Montimore is back with a new release, Acts of Violet, about a famous magician who performs the greatest trick of all time, making herself disappear.

I had the chance to chat with the lovely Margarita Montimore about her life, her books and everything in between! Without further ado, onto the interview!

Mr Geek: Margarita, thank you SO much for sitting down to chat with me – I’m excited to feature you on my blog! I can’t wait to talk to you about Oona and Acts of Violet but first, let’s start off with these crazy last 2 years. The pandemic was a life-changing event for all of us.  What did you do to help keep yourself occupied and sane during the lockdown?

Montimore: I took the dog on lots of hikes, hung out with my husband, watched a ton of TV and listened to many podcasts, crocheted, played video games, and kept in touch with friends via phone and occasional video chats. Reading was a challenge during that time, but I still made an effort to get lost in books as much as possible. But what helped keep me busy and sane most of all was researching and writing a new novel, one about a famous magician…

Mr Geek: I also had a bit of a hard time reading during the pandemic, it really was an ebb and flow. There were times I barely read and others that I couldn’t stop! I’m excited to talk more about your new novel, Acts of Violet, and this famous magician but let’s chit-chat a little longer, shall we? You mentioned watching a lot of TV during the pandemic, any TV show or movie recommendations?

Montimore: Movie-wise, I recently saw Everything Everywhere All At Once and was utterly blown away—it’s the best movie I’ve seen in at least a decade. I don’t think I’ve been affected this deeply by a film since I first saw Amelie. As for TV, Severance is hands down the best show I’ve seen all year. I’m also a big fan of Euphoria and Succession, and rewatching The OA, one of my all-time faves, always inspires me. And I have to have occasional Dateline binges from time to time – for me, that’s the true crime gold standard, and Keith Morrison’s fabulous narration is unlike anything else.

Mr Geek: A friend of mine wanted to see Everything Everywhere All At Once and we couldn’t find it in a local theater. I also actually just started Euphoria, I’m only a couple episodes in so far but Zendaya is quite the actress!

Montimore: Isn’t she incredible? My husband and I have a running bet of who we think will win an Oscar first, her or Julia Garner – they’re both phenomenal actresses, but I think Zendaya has the edge, only because she’s been doing more film work.

Mr Geek: Ironically enough, a friend of mine just recommended I started Severance this past weekend – that has officially been added to my to-watch list as well! Speaking of the big and small screen, I love when books are adapted into either TV shows or movies. Would you ever want to see that for Oona Out Of Order or Acts Of Violet?

Montimore: I would love to see it adapted for television, and fortunately Amazon Studios is in the midst of doing just that. It’s been fascinating getting a peek into the development process and to interact with talented people who have brought high quality projects to the screen.

Mr Geek: This is INCREDIBLE news! I will absolutely be keeping my eyes peeled for more release details and will most likely be bingeing the entire season the weekend it comes out! Staying on the theme of your books, I’ll never forget the day I walked into Barnes & Noble and saw it sitting on the shelf – the cover immediately caught my attention and as soon as I read the synopsis, I was sold. I absolutely adored that book and it was one of my favorite reads of 2020!

Montimore: Thank you, that means a lot to me.

Mr Geek: I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true! Oona is filled with so many anecdotes, life lessons and meaningful quotes.  One of my personal favorites was “All good things end, always. The trick is to enjoy them while they last.”  Talk to me a little bit about what this quote means to you.

Montimore: The biggest lesson I learned while writing Oona was the importance of living in the moment. I’m a very nostalgic person, so it’s easy for me to slip into memories of the past, or to become preoccupied in planning for the future, but I’ve been making a more concerted effort to be present and appreciate each day for what it is. It’s such a simple thing, but it makes a significant positive impact on my sense of well-being.

Mr Geek: Hearing your explanation of that quote makes me love it even more – probably because I also tend to be a bit on the nostalgic side! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in past, or even the future, that you lose sight of what’s happening right in front of you. The present is where the magic happens and magic is the perfect segue for us to start discussing Acts Of Violet! I just finished reading Acts Of Violet and I absolutely loved it!  Acts of Violet is your upcoming release about the Volkov sisters, Sasha and Violet.  Violet is a famous magician who disappears during one of her stage performances and is never seen from again while Sasha is left behind to pick up the pieces.  The characters were fun, well developed and relatable.  Would you say that you’re more like Sasha or Violet?

Montimore: I think there’s a part of myself in every character I write, but I also strive to make sure my characters don’t resemble me too closely, so that they can develop in interesting ways. The quality in Violet I relate to most is her desire to inspire and uplift people through her creative work. I also share Violet’s embrace of synchronicities and penchant for magical thinking. When I was growing up, I did dream about having a big glamorous life like Violet’s, but now such an existence strikes me as exhausting and lonely. Which makes me lean more toward Sasha in some ways. I can relate to her devotion to her husband and child—though in my case, it’s husband and dog—and her contentment at living a low-key suburban life.

Mr Geek: I love that you incorporate bits and pieces of yourself into your characters but also give them room to be their own unique individuals! Plus, this give your readers a chance to also see themselves reflected back in the characters too – what an awesome approach! I’ve always loved reading from multiple perspectives and Acts Of Violet is told using several different writing formats: Podcast Interviews, Newspaper / Magazine Articles, Emails and Hand-Written Letters in addition to your classic chapter format.  This was such an interesting mechanic and each format had a unique voice.  What made you want to tell Violet’s story this way?

Montimore: Violet was always going to be this intriguing, unknowable persona, where the only way you could get a sense of who she was would be by collecting all these different accounts from people who knew her, whether in a personal or professional capacity. Plus, after listening to tons of podcasts, I thought that specific format would lend itself well to unfolding parts of the mystery, of who she was and what may have happened to her. Personally, I love stories that use a variety of narrative techniques, which offer a way to show multiple perspectives while creating an immersive reading experience. I hoped writing Acts of Violet would offer readers the same sort of experience. At the same time, I wanted to include narrative chapters from Sasha’s point of view to give the story more cohesion and reflect her more grounded character.

Mr Geek: To be honest, I had a tough time picking out which style I liked the best! I loved Sasha’s chapters, hearing what was happening in present day and how everything was unfolding but I also really liked the Podcast chapters which helped build out Violet’s backstory! Your writing flowed so effortlessly and I want to talk a little more about the multiple writing formats for another minute.  Each style was used to convey a very specific part of the story – how did you go about plotting out when to use each writing style?  Did you have to go back and rearrange those different parts to help the story flow?

Montimore: My plotting happens more instinctually, so while Sasha’s chapters flowed, for the most part, chronologically, I wrote some of the other media elements as they came to me. There was definitely some rearranging of articles and podcast episodes. I even had a giant “crazy wall” in my office to inspire me and help me keep track of the different sections and timelines as I went along. Here’s a peek at part of it!

Mr Geek: This vision board is INCREDIBLE! Having read the book, I can see several elements that you had mapped out and included in Acts Of Violets. It’s really awesome to see things all come together the way they did! The picture towards the bottom, Vanish, actually inspired my next question. Oona Out Of Order and Acts Of Violet are very different and unique stories that both include a little sci-fi magic!  How would you say these books are similar and how would you say they are different?

Montimore: Great question! I do like to play around with magical/surreal elements in my stories. I would say with Oona Out of Order, you know pretty much from the start that the story contains time travel, whereas with Acts of Violet, there’s more ambiguity about the strange forces at play. Both books are similar in that they feature protagonists dealing with loss and complicated family dynamics. They’re also similar in that they ask the reader to accept a world that is a bit off-kilter without reason—the cause for Oona’s time travel “sickness” is intentionally undisclosed and some of the magic in Acts of Violet remains shrouded in mystery, also intentionally. While I like to provide a satisfying overall story experience, I think it’s important to leave some question marks hanging for the readers to puzzle out. I like to think that helps keep the story and characters alive in their minds, wondering about certain aspects instead of knowing everything conclusively.

Mr Geek: I think that’s what I love the most about your stories – you are able to seamlessly incorporate these magical moments into mundane, everyday life! It really makes me look for the spark in my day to day! Margarita, thank you SO much for taking the time to hang out and chat with me!  Any parting words for my readers?

Montimore: Thank you for having me! I wrote Acts of Violet during lockdown, and it helped bring a little more magic into my life. I hope it has the same effect on readers.

This was such an incredible experience for me and I hope you also enjoyed reading along! Margarita is such an awesome person and I’d like to thank her again for taking the time to do this interview. Her new book, Acts of Violet, is available for preorder and will be released on July 5, 2022 everywhere books are sold (like here). I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it definitely added a little magic to my life!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Spotlight: Escaping First Contact by T. S. Beier

Hello Readers!

It’s your favorite geek coming at you with a very special post today! Back in March, I randomly saw a tweet from Erik over at Breakeven Books on Twitter. Erik was recruiting people to join a Book Tour for Escaping First Contact by T. S. Beer. This is for the first book in a Science Fiction series called The Burnt Ship trilogy. I read the synopsis and it sounded right up my alley so I signed up for the tour!

Escaping First Contact is definitely a more unique take on Science Fiction. Beier does a wonderful job modernizing certain elements of this classic genre and really making them pop. She does an amazing job building a deep, intricate world that can sweep you away in a few short pages. The amount of thought that went into developing some of these back stories is truly jaw dropping!

From the first few pages, something is immediately made clear – this is a character driven novel. If you’re a fan of rich, well-thought out characters your going go love this book. In addition, there is a ton of representation in this book (which is always great to see). Beier created her own sets of “pronouns” for some of these different species with complex, compelling back stories.

If you’re a fan of the Science Fiction genre and are tired of the same-old story lines, consider picking up Escaping First Contact. I can almost guarantee that this will be the breath of fresh air that you’re looking for!

Thanks to T. S. Beier and Erik from Breakeven Books for including me on the Book Tour!

GoodReads Bio:
T.S. Beier is a science fiction aficionado. Her first published novel, What Branches Grow, is her love letter to the post-apocalyptic genre. It was also the focus of her Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing. On top of her grad certificate, T.S. has a B.A. in English, a Certificate in Publishing, and a Certificate in Interior Decorating. 

For more posts and information about Escaping First Contact check out the other contributors at their various sites below:

https://jorielovesastory.com/
https://geekygalaxy.co.uk/
https://www.instagram.com/museumgrack/
http://icanhasbooks.blogspot.com/
The Literary Apothecary YouTube Channel
https://starlitbook.com/
https://infinitysbookshelf.wordpress.com/
http://jeannekwong.com/
JKStar88 Reader YouTube Channel
Literature & Lofi YouTube Channel
https://beforewegoblog.com/

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Meet The Co-Hosts Of Tome Topple: Sam from Thoughts On Tomes!

Hello Readers!

It’s hard to believe that today is the last round of Tome Topple! I’ll be hosting some reading sprints this evening (they probably just kicked off actually). I’ve had an insanely busy week but I’m almost done with King of Scars and BOY WAS THIS GOOD!! I’ll definitely be reading Rule Of Wolves over the summer to see how this all wraps up. Since we’re wrapping up Tome Topple, I thought it was only appropriate for my last interview to be with Sam from Thoughts On Tomes (the creator of Tome Topple)!

Mr Geek: Hey Sam! Thanks so much for sitting down to chat with me – let’s start off with the basics. Introduce yourself to my readers. What do you like to do other than reading? Have any fun hobbies? What do you do as your day job?

Sam: Hello! I’ve collected so many hobbies over the years in addition to reading. I love taking care of and collecting  houseplants, witchy things like tarot, astrology, collecting insects, etc, video games… I also stream on twitch, board games, powerlifting, and hiking. I’m also about to take up roller skating! My day job is a psychotherapist.

Mr Geek: Wow, love how eclectic your hobbies are! I’m also a big video game person but don’t stream on Twitch, maybe I should look into that! Speaking of streaming, let’s talk YouTube for a minute. You’re Thoughts On Tomes on all of your social media accounts.  What inspired this name?  Have you always been a fan of big books?  Also, while we’re on the topic of tomes, we’re prepping for Round 16 of Tome Topple.  What inspired this read-a-thon and why did you originally create it?

Sam: When I first wanted to make a Booktube channel years ago, I really struggled with wanting to find the perfect name. There were so many channels with books in the title that I wanted to do something a bit different. I never really paid attention to book length when I was younger but I will admit that bigger books did intimidate me when I got back into reading. That’s what inspired Tome Topple. I wanted some motivation to read bigger books but so many read-a-thons were geared around reading as many books as possible so it tended to be about smaller books. I wanted to have a longer readathon and encourage reading those bigger titles we get intimidated by without the FOMO of seeing others reading way more because they are reading smaller books.

Mr Geek: I love that. I definitely still get intimidated by longer books, mostly because when I was younger, I would alway try to tackle longer books and it wasn’t a great experience. Not sure if I read meh books back then or what but I always lost interest and they tended to drag. I’m also really bad about binge reading series in a row but that’s a topic for another day! Tome Topple has definitely been a great way for me to start reading longer books and has definitely taken away some of the intimidation. I actually read Queen of Air and Darkness a couple rounds ago – that sucker was over 900 pages and I managed to finish it during the Tome Topple round! The Dark Artifices series was one of my favorites, I absolutely loved it. What’s your favorite genre of books?

Sam: Definitely Fantasy. It’s my favorite genre, I’m never bored, and most of my favorite books are in it. 

Mr Geek: I’m also a HUGE Fantasy fan. Definitely one of my favorite genres, right up there with Thrillers and YA. I love being swept away into a fictional world. Especially after the last couple of years, it’s nice to escape for awhile! What were some of your favorite books from last year? Read any good Fantasy?

Sam: Ohh 2021 was a rough reading year for me. I read a lot of blah books that I didn’t feel strongly either way about because my brain couldn’t handle much else. Favorite was probably Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. Really looking forward to that sequel. Least favorite… Lore by Alexandra Bracken or possibly Dune.

Mr Geek: Ugh, I feel you on that one. I did NOT have a great reading year in 2021 either. I read many not great books too. I did read Legendborn and loved it – definitely excited for the sequel as well! It was such an interesting blend of Aurthurian and magic, very unique! I have both Lore and Dune on my TBR, so that doesn’t bode well for them. We’ll have to chat again after I finish them to compare notes. I have heard Dune is a “you’ll love it or you’ll hate it” kind of book. I guess only time will tell for me! Our time is winding down so one final question for you. Do you have any unique ways that you celebrate your love of books?

Sam: I’m currently working on a tattoo sleeve that represents elements of all of my favorite books. It’s a piece I hope to continue adding to for the rest of my life. So far I already have a tattoo inspired by the Night Circus and I’ll be adding the Starless Sea and Uprooted this month. I also have plans for designs for the Witchlands series and trying to think of some ideas for representing some other favorite series like The Daevabad trilogy.

Mr Geek: I don’t have any tattoos, not a fan of needles, but this is such a great idea! I’ve seen a couple of the finished tattoos on your Instagram and they are turning out great so far! Such a cool idea and it’s awesome that you’re planning to continue adding to this for the rest of your life. Thanks for stopping by and chatting, Sam!

That concludes both my Co-Host interview series and we’re going to be winding down Tome Topple here in the next few hours! Now’s the time to finish those books before the clock strikes midnight!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Meet The Co-Hosts Of Tome Topple: Gaia from Lalettricesegreta on Instagram!

Hello Readers!

I’m back again with another co-host interview and today I’m chatting with Gaia from Lalettricesegreta on Instagram! Gaia is our main Instagram user and creates some incredible stories/posts. If you aren’t following her, you should absolutely change that! Now let’s get chatting!

Mr Geek: Hi Gaia, thanks so much for chatting with me for my blog. Let’s kick things off with you introducing yourself to my readers. What are a few things you enjoy doing outside of reading? Do you have any fun hobbies? What do you do as your day job?

Gaia: I have to admit that I’m a “late” reader. I discovered my love for books during senior year of high school. It took me almost three years to start sharing online, opening my blog and then my Instagram account. Before that, music was my soul and heart… and it still is today. I’ve took singing lessons for years!  Can’t pass a day without singing or listening to Broadway show recordings! When I have to be serious — yup, sometimes it happens — I’m a psychology student at the University of Bari (Italy). 

Mr Geek: I had no idea you were into music and theater! I actually grew up going to the theater once every summer. My Mum and Grandma would buy season tickets to 3 shows playing in the city and they would always buy me a single ticket to join them for a show. It was always a really fun, enjoyable experience and I definitely appreciate the arts more now as an adult because of it. And since we’re talking about art, I love your Instagram stories and posts! You’re @Lalettricesegreta on Instagram. What inspired this name? How did you first get started on Bookstagram?

Gaia: My nickname, La Lettrice Segreta, means literally THE SECRET READER. That’s exactly what I was at the beginning of my voyage through books. I didn’t have friends, at the time, that shared my passion – except for a group of online readers I met at some fantasy-related forums. 

When I opened my blog, I decided to name it “The secret worlds of books” (translated in Italian “Le Parole Segrete dei Libri”). I had this idea of whispered emotions and words shared between just me and my books. It felt so poetic — it was the right choice. My nickname came along very naturally from that.

Then starting my Instagram was one of the best choices I ever made. I love photography, especially if it’s surreal and photoshopped – it’s so fun to create! The possibility of talking about books and taking pictures at the same time was just perfect for me! 

Mr Geek: Love how your book related accounts are able to also incorporate some of your other passions – that’s awesome! You’re Instagram posts all have a sense of fantasy and whimsy about them, so you’re really staying true there! Since you’re our resident Instagram expert here at Tome Topple, when did you first get involved in the read-a-thon?

Gaia: I met Sam on Instagram during ROUND 9 of Tome Topple a couple of years ago. I remember tagging her in my stories with some reading templates I had created for myself — as I just said, I’m a graphical edits and photography nerd!  She saw them and we talked a little bit. Some weeks later she asked me if I wanted to be the instagram host of the readathon. Of course I said YAAAAAS!!!

Mr Geek: It’s awesome how you just randomly connected with Sam on Instagram, very similar to how I got involved. I participated in Tome Topple for a couple of rounds and then reached out on Twitter to see if she could use another co-host. She said sure and the rest is history! As we are on the tail end of Tome Topple, if you could only pick one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would you pick?

Gaia: This is SO hard.  My heart right now is *painfully* divided between fantasy+scifi. Yup, obviously cheating and putting them together as branches of the same ginormous tree or literary fiction. I know I’m proving myself a 100% Libra with these awful decision making skills…. Oh well, I can’t choose! May the odds be ever in my favor!

Mr Geek: Well… I guess I can let this combo slide! I definitely consider Fantasy and Sci Fi as part of the same tree. Did you read any great Fantasy or Sci Fi books recently? What were some of your favorites from 2021?

Gaia: 2021 was a great reading year. Just to name a few of my favorites, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Normal People by Sally Rooney, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

Not a bad book, but one I was expecting a little bit more from and then didn’t blow me away as I hoped, was A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. Good book, but not life-changing for me.  

Mr Geek: I read The Handmaid’s Tale back in college and really enjoyed it. Definitely a crazy book that really makes you think. I also own, but haven’t read, The Secret History. I’ve heard great things about this one, I’ll have to get to it soon! Have you ever considered writing your own book?

Gaia: Oh well, that is a BIG dream of mine! Right now I’m concentrated on my studies, both at university and outside, reading fiction and non-fiction, especially about creative writing. Fingers crossed!

Mr Geek: Well, if you ever write that book, I am expecting an ARC! The good news is, you have already have a bunch of bookish Tome Topple friends who are waiting to hype this up for you! Were there any particular books that inspired you to want to write your own novel or that had a big impact on you growing up?

Gaia: Yes! I would not be here talking to you if it wasn’t for The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. This was THE book that made me realize I could love books more than anything! I’m a book addict, a bookstagrammer, even a Tome Topple host because of it – well… it’s a thousand page book… a forerunner indeed!  Then Little Women came, and it was the first time I saw myself perfectly portrait by a fictional character. Jo March is very close to my heart today, just like when I first read this book! 

Mr Geek: Gaia, we’re winding down our interview but for my last question. You speak Italian as your native language but your English is outstanding. Do you know any other languages?

Gaia: Yes, Italian is my native language and I started learning English in kindergarten. I do my best to talk, read and listen in English as much as I can every week – thank goodness we have books, movies, audiobooks and TV shows! I studied Spanish during middle school, but can’t remember a single thing now that I’m 28. It has been too many years since, but I would love to study it all over again – it’s such a musical and fun language! 

Mr Geek: This was such an interesting conversation and I definitely learned a lot more about you, as did our Tome Topple readers! Thank you so much for stopping by and chatting, Gaia!

There you have it – Gaia from Lalettricesegreta on Instagram! Hopefully you know a little more about Gaia and, like I said, if you aren’t following her on Instagram be sure to do that! Tomorrow is the last day for Tome Topple and I’ll be featuring my final interview – Sam from Thoughts On Tomes, the original creator of Tome Topple (talk about a great way to close things out)!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Meet The Co-Hosts Of Tome Topple: Tori from ToriMorrow!

Hellllllo readers!

Tome Topple is officially into Week 2 and the finish line is in sight! I’m making excellent progress on King of Scars and am really, really loving it! Today’s interview is with Tori from Tori Morrow over on YouTube! Let’s get started and chat with Tori!

Mr Geek: Hi Tori! Thanks for taking the time to chat! To kick things off, why don’t you introduce yourself to my readers. What are a few things you enjoy doing outside of reading? Have any fun hobbies?  What do you do as your day job?

Tori: Hey, Tome Topplers! My biggest hobby outside of reading is definitely playing video games. I’m big into open-world RPGs, action, and games with strong narratives. Some of my all-time favorites include: Fallout 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last of Us, Control, Uncharted, and Bioshock. A hobby that I’ve started recently and have surprisingly been loving is hiking. It’s one of the few forms of exercise I’ve found I actually enjoy, but it’s also been amazing for my mental health in a way I couldn’t have imagined. The Chicagoland area has so many beautiful hiking trails and parks, and it’s been great exploring more of them and spending hours in nature.

By day, I work in non-profit recruitment in a senior project management role. By night, I’m a writer (currently struggling to clean up a terrible draft of my novel) and freelance short story editor.

Mr Geek: We’ve been co-hosting Tome Topple for awhile and I had no idea you were into video games! Also a big fan of Horizon Zero Dawn, Uncharted and Bioshock! I also didn’t realize you were writing a book which is very cool and a perfect transition over to BookTube! How long have you been a BookTuber?  What inspired you to start your own channel?  Have you always loved to read?

Tori: I’ve been on BookTube for 6 years. (No one go back and watch that first upload, please!) I was actually inspired to start my channel as a way to help with my public speaking. I’ve always been better at writing and getting my thoughts down on paper, but verbalizing them was something I struggled with from my pre-teen years into my early twenties. I used to speak faster than it’d take for my thoughts to fully form and would start rambling, so most of the time, I’d be too self-conscious to say anything at all. Talking to a camera, though, especially about books, and explaining what I enjoyed or disliked about something I’d read, really forced me to slow my thoughts down and be intentional with what I wanted to say. It’s been a journey, but the process of creating videos has been an amazing life skill for me and is something I use every day.  

Yes, I’ve always loved to read! Growing up, my mom and grandma really cultivated my passion for reading, and books were a staple in our home. Even when we had moments that were a challenge financially, they still made sure I had something to read. They knew how much of an escape books were for me, and I remember they’d let me read for hours, completely uninterrupted, so I’d have time to get lost in a story. My mom also worked nights and was still in school when I was a kid, and I remember her coming home and somehow still making time to read with me. I was incredibly blessed in that way and was able to grow up on books and classic series that I still cherish now. My mom and grandma are definitely the reason why reading is still one of the biggest parts of my life today.

Mr Geek: I LOVE that you stared your channel as a way to help improve your public speaking skills! What an incredible idea. Being a strong presenter is such a great skill to have no matter what profession you’re in! It’s also great to hear that your Mom and Grandma really instilled reading in you at a young age – it is also nice to see that this is something you’ve enjoyed and have carried with you into your adult life! If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what would you pick and why?

Tori: Science fiction, without question! Since starting my BookTube channel, I’ve really come into my love for sci-fi, and I’m still amazed by the vastness of the genre, its sub-genres, and how some authors are defying categorization altogether. I’ve always had a fascination with the “what if”, in relation to technology, government, the environment, and even space, and I feel like that question is the foundation for a lot of great science fiction. It’s a genre that I’ve found really encourages big and exciting ideas, whether that’s done through a space opera, a futuristic setting, a dystopian, or even a literary sci-fi that’s a commentary on our modern society. Science fiction has allowed me to reflect on the world and my place in it, in a way that few other genres have been able to do for me. That’s something I’ll never get tired of reading!

Mr Geek: Sci-Fi is a genre that I don’t read very often but I usually enjoy whenever I do! What were some of your favorite and least favorite reads from 2021? Read any good Science Fiction?

Tori: My top ten favorites of last year were: 

  1. Jade War (Green Bone Saga #3) by Fonda Lee 
  2. Ring Shout by P.Djèlí Clark
  3. My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due
  4. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
  5. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown 
  6. Velocity Weapon by Megan O’keefe
  7. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
  8. In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
  9. Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
  10. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell 

My least favorite books were: 

  1. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
  2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  3. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  4. The Whisper Man by Alex North 
  5. The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Mr Geek: Should’ve thought about that question a little more before asking it! Like all of my other interviews, I didn’t think about the impact this question was going to have on my TBR. I’ve read about half of your Top 10 list and a few of those have been on my radar (like My Dark Vanessa) but I wasn’t sure if I should pull the trigger. I think I will! I as neutral on The Whisper Man but I didn’t like North’s most recent release, The Shadows. Very meh, in my opinion. Ok, as we wrap up here, what have been your favorite and least favorite books of this year?

Tori: My favorite read of the year so far is Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown. My least favorite is Mickey7 by Edward Ashton.

Mr Geek: If this conversation did anything, it firmly convinced me that I NEED to move the Red Rising series up on my TBR and get to that soon! It was great chatting with you Tori – thanks for stopping by!

And that Ladies & Gentlemen, was Tori Morrow from ToriMorrow on YouTube! I think I can confidently say if you like Fantasy or Science Fiction (among other genres), you’re going to love her channel! Be sure to check her out! I’ll be posting my final 2 interviews this week, so keep your eyes peeled!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Meet The Co-Hosts Of Tome Topple: Adri from perpetualpages!

Hello Readers!

Continuing on with my Tome Topple co-host interview series, today I’ll be featuring Adri from perpetual pages on YouTube! If this is the first interview you’re reading, I chatted with Sam from Will Read For Booze already and that post can be found here! That’s enough of an intro, let’s jump in and start chatting with Adri!

Mr Geek: Hi Adri, I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me. To kick things off, why don’t you introduce yourself to my readers. Tell me a little about yourself – what do you like to do outside of reading? Do you have any fun hobbies? What’s your day job? 

Adri from perpetualpages: First off, thank you so much for having me on the blog! For those who don’t know me, I am a queer, trans nonbinary, Mexican-American writer, book reviewer, and YouTuber. I run a BookTube channel called perpetualpages, where I share reviews for books I’m reading, recommendations, book tags, and lots of other fun book-related content! As a reader, my taste is highly eclectic. I read across all genres, age demographics, and mediums. I put a particular focus on reading works from marginalized authors, with a special emphasis on queer lit just because that’s where my experience aligns. Every one of my new uploads comes fully captioned and I include content warnings for every book I review, because I believe access to information is power.

Outside of reading, I love to play video games, take photos, watch movies/tv shows with my family and friends, color, go on long walks, and of course write! I have a Bachelor’s degree in creative writing, and I try to balance my own creative projects—poetry, short stories, fiction manuscripts—with my content creation. For work, I’ve dabbled in a lot of different industries. I’ve done some freelance content creation and writing, I’ve worked in the field of education as a tutor and teaching assistant, and most recently I’ve started working in the postal service industry! I kind of bounce around wherever I’m needed, but I think that just demonstrates a strong range of professional abilities, and I’m super proud of all I’ve done so far.

Mr Geek: I love that your degree in Creative Writing aligns so perfectly with your YouTube channel, current projects and all of the other elements in your life that you mentions. Very cool! Since we’re talking about YouTube, how long have you been a BookTuber?  I love the name perpetualpages, what inspired that?  How long have you been co-hosting Tome Topple?

Adri from perpetualpages: I started my BookTube channel in late 2013. So when November hits later this year I will have officially been making videos for nine years! It’s kind of surreal to quantify my experience in that way, but I suppose the numbers don’t lie.

I got to the name perpetualpages because I started BookTubing in the early days when alliteration was very much The Thing To Do. After toying around with a lot of different book-related terms, I landed on “pages,” because I felt it was a universal part of the reading experience. Whether you listen to audiobooks, read e-books, or read physical books, the “experience” of reading is often quantified by the page count, and you make progress by working your way through those pages, however they may be presented to you. With that decided, I just needed to find another “p” word and “perpetual” struck something in me because I think it alludes to a feeling of permanence and legacy. So all together, my hope was that “perpetualpages” would signify how the stories that truly matter to us will always stay with us. What’s more, I think it ties into my “branding,” so to speak, because I am very intentional with what I read and how I read, and my mission statement as a content creator and reviewer has always been to help other people connect with the stories they need the most, the stories that will always stay in their hearts.

As far as Tome Topple, I am fortunate enough to say that I have been a co-host since the very first round! Sam reached out to a few different people to help her get this read-a-thon off the ground, and I had such a good time with it that I decided to make myself available any time it rolled around again! I always have so much fun interacting with readers, hosting reading sprints, and of course spending some dedicated time with those bigger books, so it always works out for the best.

Mr Geek: I had no idea that I was speaking with one of the original co-hosts of Tome Topple! That’s awesome that you have been around from the very beginning. It’s hard to believe that is is already the 4th round that I’ve helped co-host, and I’m obviously loving it! Speaking of things you love, if you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what would you pick and why?

Adri from perpetualpages: As a lover of almost every genre that exists, this question is so painful! But I would probably have to say Fantasy. I think Fantasy itches that part of my brain that longs for a sense of wonder and imagination, and because it isn’t tied down to real-world constraints or logic, the concepts can really challenge a reader’s mind and provide limitless possibilities. Plus, Fantasy also comes with a lot of subgenres that would make me feel like I’m not missing out too much. I could still get those contemporary settings in contemporary fantasy or urban fantasy, I could still enjoy the richness of intimate relationships in fantasy-romance, and the fantasy genre covers everything from children’s books to adult books! The same could be said for many other genres, but as a life-long lover of Fantasy, I think I’d have to stick with it for good.

Mr Geek: I completely agree with you. When I chatted with Sam (2), she also picked Fantasy. There is just something about escaping into a great Fantasy book that I love. You previously mentioned that you’re a videogame player, as am I, and I also love a good Fantasy game. I always choose to be the magic user when I can! Shifting gears a bit, let’s talk about some of favorite, and least favorite, books from 2021!

Adri from perpetualpages: Not gonna lie, I have to go back and reference my bookish stats for this one! As a Libra, having to choose one definitive favorite is my worst nightmare, but I’m going to cheat a little bit and say it’s probably a tie between Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa and The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon. Though they’re very different from each other, both stories are incredibly written and reading them brought me a deep sense of catharsis and recognition that I haven’t experienced before. I’m definitely anticipating both Jonny and H.E.’s next books!
I don’t love “putting books down,” because enjoyment of the arts is so incredibly subjective, and what’s a “bad book” for me could absolutely work on every level for someone else. It’s so often a matter of taste and reading experience that’s hard to definitively pinpoint. But just based on ratings alone, one of my lowest rated books of 2021 was Well Played by Jen DeLuca, which I think paled in comparison to the first book in the trilogy.

Mr Geek: I’ve never read either of your favorites, so you just made my TBR a little bit longer! I also don’t usually like hating on books, there is only one book out there that I despise but we can save that for another day! Since our time together is winding down, tell me about a few of your favorite books from past rounds of Tome Topple!

Adri from perpetualpages: Luckily, I can say that I’ve picked some real winners for these past rounds of Tome Topple! I’ve read everything from The Secret History to Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky and almost everything you can imagine in-between. Some real standout tomes for me have been Jade City, which set me on a path of utter devastation; Braiding Sweetgrass, which turned out to be one of the most personal and memorable pieces of nonfiction I’ve ever read; Priory of the Orange Tree, which I finished in a week out of sheer force of will; the entire Daevabad trilogy, which I listened to on audio over three different rounds; and Empire of Sand, which turned out to be one of my favorite books of 2021. I’ve had so many memorable reading experiences throughout my years of co-hosting Tome Topple, and I look forward to making many more memories!

Mr Geek: I don’t know Adri, I might have to ban you from future interviews haha – I added 5 new books to my TBR and bumped Priory of the Orange Tree, Jade City and the Daevabad trilogy to the top of the list! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! Hopefully we can do this again for a future round!

And that concludes my interview with Adri from perpetualpages. If you couldn’t tell from our conversation, Adri is EXTREMELY good at giving book recommendations and their channel is just overflowing with that type of content! Be sure to check them out over on YouTube! Keep an eye on my blog, Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou) and the Tome Topple Twitter Account (@Tome_Topple) for my next co-host interview! Keep toppling those tomes!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

A Mis-Matched April TBR + Tome Topple!

Hello Readers!

I can’t believe we are almost halfway through April! The weather should be breaking but it has been surprisingly cold and even a little snowy here in Pittsburgh these last few weeks. In non-book related news, I just got back from a trip to Augusta, GA! I was invited to golf at Augusta Country Club last Thursday and then I attended the Masters golf tournament on Friday and Saturday. It was an incredible trip and I am still in disbelief that I was able to go! While the trip was packed with activities, I did get some serious reading done during my flights! So let’s chat about what books I plan to tackle during the month of April!

I originally had a pretty fun idea for my TBR planned but due to Tome Topple and a couple other events I’m participating in this month, I’m going to postpone this one more month and use this idea in May! Instead of having a fully baked plan, I’m sticking with the theme of this year and going a little chaotic. To start, I’m reading Finlay Donovan Is Killing it by Elle Cosimano. This is a funny, light and slightly dark story about an author, and recent divorcee, who gets mistaken as a hired assassin. I’m almost done with this one and I’m really enjoying it – it doesn’t take itself too seriously and is a nice distraction in this crazy world we’re living in. The next book I’d like to wrap up is This Golden State by Marit Weisenberg. I’ve been picking away at this one since last month and am going to be committing to finishing it soon. I was a little slumpy when I first started this one, so I’ve been dragging it out much longer than I meant to!

Once I wrap up these two books, we’re going to be into the start of Tome Topple Round 16! I always set lofty goals for Tome Topple and never follow through with them but I’m going to try to change that this time around! As you might’ve seen in my announcement post, I’m planning to read King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. This is the first book in the Nikolai Duology that takes place after the original Grishaverse trilogy and the Six of Crows Duology. I’m planning to try to knock this one out in week 1 of Tome Topple then move into The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig. The Book of Accidents is a creepy horror title that sounds RIGHT up my alley. I usually save these types of books for October but I got this one for Christmas from my Secret Santa (if you ever read this – Thanks again, Gigi!!) and I’ve been dying to read it ever since! Each of these books check the box for each of the reading prompts I rolled in my announcement post. I’m also going to revisit Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff. I started this one back in January and while I enjoyed it, it’s slow pacing threw me off. I’m about 90 pages into that one already, so I’m going to pick that up when I can to try to chip away at it during this round of Tome Topple.

So that’s it! What books are you reading this month and are you planning to participate in Tome Topple? Drop me your books in the comments and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for when I’m hosting reading sprints (and be sure to join in)!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

My Chaotic March TBR

Hello Readers!

I’m writing this post a little later than I originally intended. As I was wrapping up February, I had this great idea for March. My “Judge A Book By Its Cover” TBR. Well, like always, life threw me for a loop. I ended up getting an ARC a little later than expected and I had a copy of Acts of Violet show up that I have been dying to read, so… PLOT TWIST. I’m changing up my TBR and moving “Just A Book By Its Cover” to April – so keep an eye out for that! For now, I’m just going to let chaos rein and enjoy whatever March throws at me, which will include the follow books!

As you might’ve seen in my February TBR, I was working on a blog tour for This Golden State. I’m currently making my way though that and really enjoying it so far. It’s a sort of YA thriller / mystery and it has been GREAT! I’m going to review this book once I’m done (and I’ll include more spoiler-free details there). Definitely something to keep an eye on!

My new book is Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore. Montimore’s debut, Oona Out Of Order, was one of my favorite books of 2020 (and one of the best things to come out of that year). Acts of Violet is the story about a magician, Violet Volk, how vanishes in the middle of her magic show and is never seen from again. Similar to Oona, Violet is more of contemporary fiction and I’m LOVING it. This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022 and, so far, it’s living up to the hype! I’m also going to be doing a dedicated review for this book as well!

The last book that I’m currently reading is The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I’m actually helping out Lisa From Troy (on GoodReads & Twitter) with a read-a-long she’s hosting. I am enjoying this WAY more than I thought I would. I saw The Da Vinci Code movie years and years ago when it first was released and wasn’t crazy about it. The book is 10x better and Lisa is doing a GREAT job with the read-a-long. She posts discussion posts daily (then I’m there to support with fun side talk and chatter). More information on the read-a-long can be found HERE. Also, if you’re worried about starting late, don’t be! Lisa did a great job breaking each day into small, bite-sized pieces and you could easily knock out a few days at a time to catch up!

Outside of these books, I’m going to play it by ear and just read whatever I’m in the mood for. Chaos will likely ensue but I’m just going to enjoy it and ride this wave! Should be an interesting end of month wrap up post! If you’re enjoying my content, please consider following my blow here or on Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou). Enjoy your month, friends!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

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