August ’22 TBR!

Hello Readers!

As much as I hate to say this, and can’t believe it’s true, the summer is starting to wind down and I’m starting to have dreams of everything Pumpkin Spice! While I do enjoy the warmer months (I’m an avid golfer), the Fall is definitely one of my favorite seasons – I’m already starting think about some horror book I can read in October for Halloween! For the month of August, I received an ARC of one of my most anticipated releases of the year (more on that soon) but I decided to let that guide the rest of my TBR selections for the month. I’m going to be reading nothing but fantasy reads in August, so let’s dive into the books!

To start off, I’ll be kicking off the month with an ARC of The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber. This is the sequel to Once Upon a Broken Heart which came out last year and I also participated in a blog tour to support. I loved the Caraval series (well, Legendary was fine… too many descriptions of dresses). This new series takes place in the same world as Caraval, with some minor spoilers (so be sure to read those books first), and we get to revisit some favorite characters! I don’t want to go into too much detail here because this picks up immediately after the first book and I don’t want to spoil anything!

Next up, I’ll be finishing the last book from my “Judge A Book By Its Cover” TBR last month and reading Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. This is the first book in The Lost Hours trilogy. I’ve been absolutely loving Clare’s more recent Shadowhunter Chronicles releases. The Dark Artifices was absolutely fantastic and I’ve heard great things about this series too. Chain of Gold is a follow up to The Internal Devices trilogy. In these new books we follow the children of many of the characters we met in The Internal Devices. Again, don’t want to spoil anything so I’m going to go ahead and leave it at that!

After Chain of Gold, I’m planning to pick up The Spinner of Dreams by K. A. Reynolds. I’ve had this one on my TBR for years and I’m excited to finally get to it. This is the story of Annalise who was cursed as a child and embarks on an adventure to enter the Labyrinth of Fate & Dreams, defeat the Fate Spinner and finally rid herself of the curse. The plot was intriguing and it seems like something I’d enjoy, only time will tell!

Last up, I’m not sure what I want to finish off the month with. I have a couple options, so if you’ve read any of them, send me your recommendations. I’m considering The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare, All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody or Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody. I’m sure that no matter what I pick, I’ll be thoroughly entertained – all of these books have received pretty solid reviews on GoodReads.

What’s on your TBR for the month? Have any recommendations for me? Leave me a comment and, as always, don’t forget to subscribe!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

July ’22 “Judge A Book By Its Cover” TBR

Hello Reader!

I can’t believe this year is officially half over – seriously, where has the time gone!? I’ve had a pretty awesome 2022 – lots of twists and unexpected turns but I’m enjoying the ride! I just got back from vacation (spent a week at the beach with my family) – it was the perfect mental reset that I’ve been so desperately needing! I also was able to get some prime reading time in which was awesome because I’m a little behind on my GoodReads goal. Thankfully, the books I picked out for this month have been solid and they’re getting me back into a nice groove and out of my slump. So without further ado, let’s talk about my July TBR and how it was selected!

I had this great idea earlier in the year to have someone else pick my monthly TBR. I thought it would be fun to have a couple of my bookish friends (Hi Mollie & Christi) pick out what books I would read for the month. They know me well and we have similar tastes, so I had no doubt they would knock it out of the park. This got me thinking. What if I had my Mum, who isn’t a huge reader, pick out my books based strictly on the cover images?! This seemed like too great of an idea not to pursue, so here we are! I took roughly 25 books that I’ve been thinking about reading, snagged all of their cover images and lined them up side-by-side. I showed this combined image to my Mum and told her to pick out 4 books for me to read this month based strictly on the cover images. She happily obliged and, spoiler, she picked out some good ones so far!

Her first selection was Lock Every Door by Riley Sager. I’ve read a few of Sager’s books and have always really enjoyed them. I love a good thriller and his writing style is very engaging. This was my first book I read while I was on vacation. It’s the story of Jules Larson, a down on her luck girl who happens to stumble into one amazing apartment sitting opportunity. She gets to live for free in a luxury apartment and get paid extremely well as long as she follows the eccentric rules and… hopefully doesn’t disappear like the other apartment sitters. This was a wild ride and while I thought the ending was a little out there, I enjoyed it overall!

My next book is The Night Swim. I loved Goldin’s debut novel, The Escape Room – it was fast paced, intrigued and compulsively readable! The Night Swim, so far, is following in its footsteps! This is the story about a Podcaster, Rachel, who shows up in a small town to cover a rape trial that’s about to begin. While she’s there, a local woman reaches out to her about investigating her sister death (which she thinks was murder). This book is told from multiple perspectives plus there are “Podcast” chapters sprinkled throughout. At the time of writing this post, I’m about 30% in and absolutely loving it. It’s addicting and I just want to keep reading to find out what’s going to happen!

The last of my “short” books is The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf. I actually just got this book for my birthday recently and am really looking forward to diving into this one! An author is snowed into a farmhouse, that she’s using as a retreat location, to finish her new novel. Secrets start to unravel, a small child shows up in the snow and she starts to realize that she’s not as alone as she once thought! This sounds like the perfect high tension thriller to round out this trifecta!

My final book on my TBR is Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. The Shadowhunter Chronicles have quickly become one of my favorite series (The Dark Artifices trilogy is chef’s kiss). Chain of Gold is a follow up series to Clare’s Infernal Devices series. I don’t want to go into too much detail here because a lot of the characters from the original series make cameos in this series as well (in addition to their children). I’ve heard great things about this new series and am excited to dive in. I already own the first two books in this trilogy with the final book coming out early next year!

So there you have it! A solid TBR lineup for the month of July that I am really looking forward to making my way through. I’ll be doing a mid-year check in to talk through some of my favorite books, least favorite books and goal progress, so keep your eyes peeled for that! How has your reading year been so far? Let me know in the comments and, as always, don’t forget to subscribe!

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

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

That’s A Wrap: Tome Topple, Round 14!

It literally feels like yesterday that Sam from Thoughts On Tome sent out the Voxer message announcing that Tome Topple Round 14 was going to take place in March. Like a bookish version of the Avengers, the co-hosts assembled and we all began planning for the read-a-thon!

Tome Topple is, hands down, one of my favorite read-a-thons. I don’t know about you, but I could always use a little extra incentive / motivation to read my really long books. As I was planning my TBR for March, I purposely added Queen Of Air And Darkness by Cassandra Clare to the list. I’ve been wanting to finish The Dark Artifices series for awhile now but was putting it off because 1) I wasn’t ready for the series to end and 2) this book was a beast, coming in at over 900 pages! Usually I attempt several of the reading prompts from the bingo card, but this time I decided to keep it simple – finish Queen Of Air And Darkness and I’d consider this round a win!

Tome Topple Round 14 “Bingo” Card

Overall, this was a very successful round for me! Week 1 of Tome Topple was relatively calm – I hosted quite a few reading sprints and made some nice progress in my tome. Week 2 was another story. Between work and my personal life, I had an extremely hectic week. When Friday rolled around I had about 400 or so pages left to read and the outlook was grim. Over the weekend, I hosted a few reading sprints (and participated as a spectator in a few as well). Yesterday was an absolutely miserable day here in Pittsburgh. It rained pretty steadily the entire day and it was the perfect excuse to stay home and read. I ended up knocking out the rest of my tome in the afternoon and enjoyed every minute of it! Cassandra Clare finales are just so well done that once you hit the tipping point, there’s no turning back! I read a lot of books to get to this point but it was worth the journey. I’m planning on starting The Scrolls of Magic and The Lost Hours series very soon (right after I read Tales From The Shadow Market).

Wrapping up this post, I want to thank all my fellow co-hosts: Sam (Thoughts On Tomes), Adri (Perpetual Pages), Sam 2 (Will Read For Booze), Gaia (Lalettricesegreta on IG), Tori (Tori Morrow) and Jocelyn (Yogi With A Book). I appreciate you welcoming me into this group and have thoroughly enjoyed co-hosting with each one of you. I’d also love to thank all the participants – my favorite part about co-hosting is socializing with all of you! Each reading sprint, you all were there to chat about books, current events and life. I hope to see you all back for Round 15 later this year! Please don’t be a stranger – I talk books here on the blog and also @ItsMrGeekToYou on Twitter!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek