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

Happy New Year: 2021 Reading Goals, Blog Posts and My January TBR!

It’s currently New Year’s Eve and I just sat down to draft this post. I have a Moscow Mule in hand and I’m thinking back over what a roller coaster this year has been. This time last year, I was full of hope, optimism and excitement about what the new year was going to hold. I had an extremely rocky 2019 and was hoping 2020 was going to be that fresh start and reset that I so desperately needed. Despite this year being a complete dumpster fire from basically start to finish, about halfway through the year I decided I still wanted to end the year strong. I started this blog, picked up several new hobbies and began planning to make 2021 my year. Now that 2021 is here, I thought it only appropriate to discuss some of my reading goals, hopes for this blog and my January TBR! But first, a commemorative photo for us all to remember 2020.

To kick things off, I wanted to talk about my reading goals. One positive thing that came out of 2020 was that I learned I like to make a monthly TBR. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise because I have always been a “list” guy. I love making a list and crossing it off. I think I’ve always avoided this in the past because I tend to be more of a “mood reader.” I enjoy picking out book more in the moment than deciding before hand. By creating monthly TBRs, it helped organize me and keep me on track. As I’m looking into 2021, I’m going to continue this trend. I’m also going to prioritize several books / series that I have been meaning to read or finish and just never get there:

  • The Lunar Chronicles (Only need to finish Winter)
  • The Mistborn Series (At least books 1-3)
  • The Dark Artifices Trilogy (Need to finish books 2 & 3)
  • The Daevabad Trilogy
  • The Locked Tomb Trilogy
  • The Last Hours Trilogy
  • A Court of Thorns & Roses Series
  • The Glass Throne Series
  • The Nevernight Chronicles
  • The Great Library Series
  • The Witchlands Series
  • The Monsters of Verity Duology
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • His Dark Materials Trilogy
  • The Farseer Trilogy

I know most, if not all, of the books included in this list will be incredible so I’m really looking forward to diving in! I’ll be setting my GoodReads reading goal in the next week or so and I’m thinking that I might stick with my 35 book goal again. I am planning to read some long books this year and want to make sure reading remains a fun activity and doesn’t become a chore!

As I read away the days, I’m planning to post here A LOT more often. This might come in the form of quick updates or more formalized, planned posts (like “Thoughts I had while reading Twilight,” really looking forward to this one). I love reading and want to create fun, enjoyable content that is unapologetically mine. I hope you’ll consider subscribing or following me on Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou) to enjoy all of the updates I’ll be sharing in 2021!

Last, but most definitely not least, my January TBR! I’ve already got a tiny head start on because I started reading Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. This is the second installment in the Dark Artifices trilogy. I was a HUGE fan of Lady Midnight and I’m already enjoying Lord of Shadows. Once this is complete, I’m planning to move onto Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline. Then I’ll be jumping back into the Shadowhunter World with Queen of Air & Darkness by Cassandra Clare. These are some pretty chunky books, so I’m not expecting to get much else read this month but if I have time for one more book, it’ll probably be Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I’ve never read Twilight (but I think I saw some of the movie once). I’ve never been a fan and have always wanted to do a “Thoughts I Had While Reading…” post, this seemed like the perfect opportunity! If I can’t fit in for January, I’ll probably postpone until March (I’m planning an Authors of Color TBR for February and Black History Month – more on that later)!

Here’s to an incredible 2021 filled with excitement, health and adventures. What are your plans for 2021? Reading goals? New Year’s Resolutions? Have any read anything that I want to read? What are your thoughts? Comment below, I love to talk books!

Happy New Year and Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Top 5 Favorite Books of 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Top 5 Biggest Book Disappointments of 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

October ’20 Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

October ’20 TBR

It’s finally October and that means “Spooky SZN” is upon us! The weather is FINALLY starting to cool off in the northeast and all of the Autumn flavors are in full swing (I’m looking at you Pumpkin Spice and Apple). I typically don’t set a book “theme” for the month but I decided to give that a try for October. Since Halloween will be coming up, I thought this would be the perfect time to break out all of my horror / spooky books to binge all month long! I’m still on track to hit my stretch goal of 52 books by the end of the year. If I want to hit this goal, I need to read at least 6 books each month in October, November and December. I’ve set an aggressive TBR for October so, without further ado, let’s jump into the books!

I’m going to kick the month off with a classic horror story, Pet Semetary by Stephen King. I haven’t read many books by King but this seems to be a favorite! I actually don’t know a ton about this story other than there is some sort of cursed land that has the power to bring whatever is buried there back to life… but not quite the same. I actually have a paperback of this and will be listen to some of the audiobook. The audiobook is narrated by Michael C. Hall and it has received rave reviews. After Pet Semetary, I’m going to move on to Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Mexican Gothic has been described as a horror-thriller that seems to be right up my alley. When Noemi received a mysterious letter from her cousin, beginning someone to come save her from impending doom, she sets off to the High Place to investigate. Noemi is better suited for dresses and dinner parties than as a rescue but that won’t stop her. As Noemi dig deeper and deeper, she soon discovers a history of violence and madness that might be impossible to escape.

I’ve always been a big fan of Victoria Schwab and now seems like the perfect time to read City of Ghosts. Meet Cassidy Blake, an In-Between who can communicate with ghosts. When Cass meets Lara, a fellow In-Between, she explains that it’s Cass’ responsibility to send ghosts permanently across The Veil. When the Red Raven begins terrorizing her city, she quickly realizes it isn’t meant for this world. She’s soon pulled into an epic fight that stretches across the worlds of the living and the dead. I am purposely saving Home Before Dark by Riley Sager for closer to Halloween. This “haunted house” book seems like the perfect read as Halloween approaches! When Maggie Holt, a restorer of old homes, inherits her family home, she returns to restore it so it can be properly sold. Maggie is too young to remember the horror’s mentioned in her father’s book. Soon she begins experience strange occurrences, that seem to be right out of her father’s book. It’s up to Maggie to find out what secrets are within these walls before it’s too late!

In addition to these physical books, I’m also going to try to knock out 2 audiobooks. My first audiobook will be The Shadows by Alex North. The Shadows is the follow-up to North’s debut, The Whisper Man (which I read last year). The premise of this one sounds great and has a lot of promise. Paul Adams remembers the dark, imaginative and gruesome murder committed by Charlie Crabtree when he was a teenager. After the murder was committed, Crabtree disappeared and was never found. Fast-Forward 25 years later and a copycat killer has struck. As tensions rise around town, Paul can feel the past slowly starting to seep into the present. I haven’t decided on which audiobook I’ll read next. I have a couple Stephen King books queued up (Misery and If It Bleeds) and a couple by one of my favorite more niche authors, J.A. Konrath (Origin and The List). This last pick will definitely be based on my mood and whatever I’m feeling in the moment.

Hopefully I’m able to conquer this TBR and then some! What do you have planned for this month? Are you going to read anything creepy to celebrate Halloween? Leave me a comment, tweet me or add me on GoodReads (@ItsMrGeekToYou on both sites).

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Book Review: Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker

I have always been a fan of the thriller / suspense genre. I love starting a new mystery novel and immediately becoming immersed in the plot! Last year, while browsing around Amazon, I came across a recently released book (The Night Before) by an author I had never heard of (Wendy Walker). As soon as I read the synopsis I knew I had to add it to my TBR! Here’s my quick take for those who haven’t read or heard of this book: Lauren Lochner has never had much success in the romance department. After her latest failed relationship, she decides to give up her Wall Street job, and New York City lifestyle, to move in with her sister, Rosie, back in Connecticut where they grew up. Lauren struggles to find her new normal and decides to give dating another try. This seems like the perfect reset for Lauren…. until she doesn’t return home from her date the next morning. As panic begins to build, and Rosie desperately tries to locate her sister, she realizes she’s not worried that something happen to Lauren, but what Lauren might have done to her date. This book was fantastic, inventive and I could not put it down! If you’re interested in picking up a copy or learning more, view The Night Before on Amazon.

Shortly after I read The Night Before, St Martin’s Press reached out to me offering an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Walker’s newest book, Don’t Look For Me. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew this book would be right up my alley and jumped on the offer! Don’t Look For Me was a brilliant, nerve-wracking, thrill-ride from the first page to the last.

Here’s my quick, spoiler-free summary: Have you ever wanted to just pick-up, leave your life behind and start over somewhere new? Well that’s exactly what Molly Clarke wanted. After the death of one of her children, Molly’s life is shattered and her family is broken. She’s desperate to disappear and never be found, it’s the only way she can deal with her grief and hopefully help her family heal. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when Molly goes missing one night during a terrible storm. Days later a note is found at a local casino, along with some of her clothing, saying that she is moving over and “don’t look for me.” Is this Molly’s chance to start over or is there more to this story than meets the eye?

Review: I freaking loved this book. To start, I love when a book is written with multiple POVs or alternating timelines. “Don’t Look For Me” alternates between present day and the night Molly disappears. Walker did such a great job here. Each timeline was interesting, compelling and I was never bored with the story. I looked forward to each “switch” because I knew I was getting more details to help my unravel what happened the night Molly went missing. I found the characters to be fascinating and I liked the subtle theme of redemption that was threaded throughout the novel. The further you get into this book, the deeper and more intriguing the mystery becomes. As I hit the last ~100 pages, I felt like I was on a runaway train and sat glued to the couch until I read the final page. Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable and well-written thriller. If you haven’t read a Wendy Walker book, do yourself a favor and pick up either: The Night Before or Don’t Look For Me (Release Date: September 15, 2020). If you do purchase a copy, please consider using the affiliate links in this blog post – I’ll receive a small commission and there’s no charge to you!

A HUGE thank you to St Martin’s Press for providing this advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

Are you a fan of thrillers? What are some of your favorites? Have you also read one of Wendy’s books? What did you think? Leave me a comment or tweet me (@ItsMrGeekToYou)!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

PS – Are we friends on GoodReads? Add me: ItsMrGeekToYou

September 2020 TBR

September is finally upon us and you know what that means! Fall is right around the corner along with chilly evenings, pumpkin-or-apple-flavored-everything and more time to spend indoors reading! This has been such a weird year for me, as I’m sure it has been for everyone, and I’m really hoping to get myself back on track. I’ve struggled to read as much as I normally do (lack of focus during this pandemic) and I just haven’t been able to accomplish as much as I hoped. As we enter the last few months of 2020, I’ve set a few short term goals for myself and one of those is to hit my original stretch reading goal of 52 books. That will require me to read ~6 books per month which I actually think is doable. I’m aiming to read 1 book/week and 2 audiobooks/month. To help my achieve this goal, I’m going to be setting TBRs for myself at the beginning of each month.

I already have a few books in progress that I am hoping to finish over the long weekend / next week. I received an ARC of Wendy Walker’s new book, Don’t Look For Me. I started this last weekend and am LOVING it. I took a small break from the thriller genre but this is really hitting the spot. After Molly Clarke’s life is turned upside down by tragedy and a broken family, she decides to abandon her life and start over… or does she? I’ll be absolutely reviewing this book once I finish. I read The Night Before last year and really, really enjoyed it. If you’re a fan of the thriller genre, I’d recommend picking that up as well! It’s about a first date gone wrong – I’m sure we can all relate to that but mayyyyyyyyyyyyyybe not to this extent! I am also struggling through The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare. For how much I love the Shadowhunter books and that universe, this has been a challenge to get through. It reads very much like a textbook. While the information is interesting and helps build a more complete world, it’s definitely on the dry/boring side. The last book I have in progress is an audiobook, Bossypants by Tina Fey. I read Bossypants back when it first came out in 2011. I am a HUGE Tina Fey fan but thought her book was mediocre at best. Recently, I was chatting with a coworker and Bossypants came up. When she found out I wasn’t really a fan, she recommended the audiobook. I was able to scoop it up, on sale, from the Apple Books store. Tina narrates the book and it makes it so much more enjoyable!

Now that we’ve covered what I have in-flight, moving on to what’s next! Since I’ve been enjoying Don’t Look For Me so much, I thought I’d pick up another thriller: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin. I read Goldin’s debut The Escape Room earlier this year and absolutely loved it. If you’re looking for a sophisticated literary experience, move along. If you want a twisty, bizarre and thoroughly entertaining thriller, definitely pick this up. I am a HUGE fan of cheesy horror / thriller movies and this was definitely right up my alley. I am also thinking about picking up The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson. I read Truly, Devious earlier this year. I liked it but didn’t love it. Personally, I felt like I was reading 1/3 of a book. There wasn’t much resolution and it seemed like I had more questions than answers by the end of the book. I’ve heard that the as you progress through the series, everything gets woven together nicely. The last couple books on my list are The Last Flight by Julie Clark and Camino Winds by John Grisham. To be honest, I don’t really know much about either of these books. I’ve seen The Last Flight on several “Books That I Couldn’t Put Down” lists – so it seems like something I’ll enjoy. I read Camino Island a couple years ago and enjoyed it. I think, in the moment, I would’ve enjoyed it more knowing that the story was going to continue. It was left very open ended and I just didn’t love that (again, knowing a sequel was coming would’ve changed that opinion a bit).

So that’s my proposed TBR for September. I might sub in a couple depending on my mood. I’ve already started working on what I want to read in October and have some great spooky / horror reads queued up! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What did you think? What are you planning to read in September? Let me know in the comments or Tweet me @ItsMrGeekToYou!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Tome Topple Round 12: Wrap Up

Well friends, another round of Tome Topple is in the books! I had, what I’m considering, a very successful round. I was about to read over 1,000 pages in this 2-week duration. Unfortunately, I had a pretty busy week 2 and also took a long weekend trip out of town (which really cut into my reading time but provided some MUCH NEEDED R&R).

The first book I tackled was quite the chunker: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. This clocked in at around 700 pages and was a freaking phenomenal book. Lady Midnight is the first entry in the Dark Artifices series. I honestly can’t say enough good things about this book! From the first page to the last I was completely hooked. Even though this was a longer book, the pages flew by. Not once did I find myself bored or flipping ahead to see how much was left. I felt the connected to the characters and the plot really sucked me in! Hands down a 5 out of 5 stars read! If you haven’t read the Shadowhunter Chronicles, but are interested in starting, stay tuned – I’m working on a post outlining how to enter this world!

The next book I started, but didn’t quite finish was Muse of Nightmares by Liani Taylor. Holy. Shit. I have been sleeping on this book for a good year and am so angry at myself for not reading it sooner! I’m finally getting around to writing this post about a week after Tome Topple has ended and I just finished Muse today. This booked completely lived up to my expectations (and I’ll be writing a fully review soon, so check back for that). Taylor’s writing is so poetic and lyrical – it’s really a joy to read. I found the plot to be completely engrossing and I absolutely loved revisiting some of previous characters from Strange the Dreamer, in addition to meeting some new ones! Everything about this book was perfect and I can’t wait to rave about it more in my review post!

It looks like we’ll be squeezing in one more Tome Topple this year (I think in November). There were many more read-a-thons this year than normal due to the pandemic. I feel like I’m finally getting myself back to a good spot in my reading and am able to enjoy my books again. I’ve also been on a great streak here of reading excellent books! Did you participate in Tome Topple? If so, what did you read? Any reading suggestions for me for the next round? Leave me a comment or tweet me @ItsMrGeekToYou.

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek