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

Life Update + My May ’21 TBR… I guess?

To say the last month has been wild, crazy and unexpected would be the understatement of the year thus far! Since I have been neglecting my blog, I thought I’d draft up a quick post about what has been happening and the books I’m reading (or failing to read)! Let’s chat!

A little over a month ago, I was able to get my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. After this last chaotic year, I was thrilled to get the vaccine and start getting some semblance of normalcy back! Once I was fully vaccinated, I decided to take a trip to Harrisburg, PA (I have a couple friends who live nearby). I wanted to make this trip last year but had to cancel due to the start of the pandemic. It was wonderful being able to take a short trip, have a fun weekend and see some friends! My hotel was in downtown Harrisburg, which put me in walking distance to a lot of places. I able to visit the Midtown Bookstore (unfortunately it was only open for an outdoor sidewalk sale), Hershey Park / Store, Troegs Brewery and a ton more! I had dinner with a friend who I met at my old company – it was great seeing and catching up with her (and our meal was absolutely delicious). On Saturday, I drove down to Lancaster, PA to spend the day with another friend and his wife. We spent the entire day driving around and hitting up a bunch of local spots. It was low key and a great way to spend the day! On Sunday, I went for a walk before I grabbed breakfast at this incredible local spot before heading home! Dropping in a few pictures below!

Now onto my reading life! I have been SO slumpy lately. I started The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold and while I’m enjoying it, it doesn’t really grab me (probably because it’s about a pandemic which is hitting a litttttttttttttttle too close to home right now). When I sit down and read, I really enjoy the story – it’s just finding that motivation! I was hoping to finish The Electric Kingdom before my trip because I wanted to start reading Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson while I was away. That ended up not happening and I STILL started Mistborn. I was so busy when I was traveling that I barely read. Whenever I got back, I co-hosted Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon and had plans to read Survive The Night by Riley Sager. I stuck with that plan and started ANOTHER new book! I am absolutely loving Survive The Night, it’s fast paced and twisty – exactly what I needed to really get me back into my reading. Honestly, the books really haven’t been the problem, it’s just finding the motivation! My plan for May is to try to clean up all my in progress books (and potentially start a new book if I get through everything else). Which is the perfect transition to my last update!

When the pandemic started, I decided I wanted to do something for self improvement or self development. I couldn’t really decide on something though. Back in March, I decided I wanted to enroll in an online certificate program. I ended up deciding to enroll in Cornell University’s Product Management certificate program. The skills that I get to focus on are extremely in demand right now plus they are applicable in my current role plus give me additional career paths in the future. I started the program about 3 weeks ago and so far I am loving it! Each class is 2 weeks long (6 in total) and the program lasts 12 weeks. It’s learn at your own pace too. You aren’t required to take all 6 courses back to back, you can space them out however you want and have 2 years to complete all the courses. I’m planning to take most of the courses back to back and am only taking off 2 weeks for my vacation in July. That’ll put my end date as August 3, 2021! In addition to this online program, work has also been a little crazy. We had a small restructure which impacted my role/responsibilities. This happened a few weeks ago and we’re still trying to work out how we adjust to the changes. I’m hoping that everything settles down here in the next week or two.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. What books are you currently reading? What’s been happening with you? Leave me some updates in the comments!

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

March ’21 Wrap Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

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

February ’21 Wrap Up: BHM Edition

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

February ’21 Black History Month TBR

I’ve always loved the idea of a “themed” reading list but I never really committed to trying it. Back in October of last year I decided to fully embrace “Spooky SZN” and read nothing but horror books to get me in the mood for Halloween. It was a great experience – I got into a nice groove, whipped through some excellent reads and really enjoyed it.

I decided to give this reading theme a try for Black History Month (#BHM). Last year, during all of the Black Lives Matter protests, a lot of bloggers / BookTubers were encouraging the reading community to read books by people of color. For me, race and gender are not two traits I typically think about when selecting a book. Basically, if the ploy sounds good, I add it to my TBR. I decided to make my entire February TBR decided to authors of color and I have assembled a GREAT list of books! If you’re not sure what to read next, hopefully my selections will inspire you! Now, let’s get onto the books!

Kicking off the month, I’ll be reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I feel like this book was EVERYWHERE a few years when it was first released (and they made it into a movie, which I picked up over the Holidays to watch after I finish the book). The plot focuses on a young girl (Starr Carter) who witnesses her best friend get shot and killed at the hands of a police officer. The story makes national headlines and things begin to spiral from there. I’ve heard nothing by praise for this novel and I’m hoping it’s a strong start to the month.

Next up, I’ll be reading The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin. The plot of this one is pretty vague but essentially cities are “born.” Whenever this process happens, individuals within the city come to life. The main focus here is New York City and as it’s born, each of its boroughs comes to life and is characterized by a certain person. I’ve heard this is an extremely unique and engaging read. This will also be my first book by N. K. Jemisin. I’ve also heard great things about how other series and writing style, I think she has potential to become one of my new favorite authors.

After that, I’ll be picking up A Song Of Wraiths & Ruin by Roseanne Brown. This was another really popular book earlier this. I’ve seen it features on several YouTube channels and all over Twitter. I believe this also has multiple POVs, which is one of my favorite writing styles (when done right). From what I’ve heard so far, the plot focuses on a princess (Karina) trying to resurrect her mother who was recently assassinated and an assassin (Malik) who’s trying to kill Karina. I believe this also includes some sort of competition (which I am a sucker for).

Rounding out the month will be Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. This is the first book in the Legacy of Orisha trilogy. It follows our main character Zelie, who lives in a world that no longer has magic. It has been trampled out by their ruthless King. When Zelie is given the chance to bring back magic and strike down the monarch, she must decide what her future holds.

This is a father aggressive TBR but I’m feeling good about all of these books! Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? What did you think? Be sure to follow me here or on Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou) for updates on my reading journey!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek