Happy New Year: 2022 Reading Goals, Life Updates & my January TBR!

Hello Readers and Happy New Year!

It has been awhile since my last post and we have a lot to catch up on! My lack of updates has been for a few reasons: 1) The last couple months have been absolutely insane (both personally and professionally, I work in eCommerce for a retail website, so the holidays are always chaos), 2) I had a huge “Oh Shit!” moment in November when I realized I was way behind on my GoodReads goal for the year and set out to turn that around and 3) I have just been feeling really burned out. With everything that’s been happening and the pandemic still going on, it all just finally caught up to me.

New Year is always one of my favorite times of the year. I usually create a few resolutions and, generally speaking, I’m really good about sticking with them. I love the idea of a fresh start and having a brand new year ahead of my full of adventures and opportunities (which, granted, hasn’t really been the case the last 2 years).

2021 wasn’t all bad though! I reached more readers with my blog and got to partner with some Publishers on their upcoming releases. If you’re reading this post now, thank you! I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to spend a few minutes with me and my thoughts. Prior to starting this post, I just set my GoodReads goal for 2022 and decided to read 37 books. 37 has always been a lucky number for me and I’m hoping that’s going to carry throughout the year. Last night, when the clock struck midnight, I started my first book of the year and it’s a long one!

For the month of January, I’m going to set the tone of the year. I’m kicking off with a few self-improvement books, most are actually re-reads. I’ve owned “Year of Yes” bye Shonda Rhimes for quite awhile and am finally going to read it. The vibe of the book seems like something I’ll enjoy but only time will tell. Sticking with the genre, I’m also planning re-reads of “Everything Is Figureoutable” by Marie Forleo and “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I’ve read both of these books in the past, enjoyed them immensely, and thought it was time for a re-read! For my non-self-help books, I’m planning to read “Empire of the Vampire” by Jay Kristoff (which I started last night). I’m about 30 or so pages in – it’s definitely a slow burn but I’m finding it interesting. Hopefully it picks up a bit because this one is nearly 750 pages. After I wrap that up, I’m planning to tackle “All The Stars And Teeth” by Adalyn Grace and potentially the sequel “All The Tides of Fate.”

One other, more general, goal I’m making for myself this year is to 1) finish some of the series I currently have in progress. I made a list and it’s embarrassing! and 2) when I start a new series, stick with it and try to finish it within the same year or within a few months. There have been entirely too many instances where I start a series, read the first book and then don’t come back to it for months (or even years) later. By that time I’ve gotten what I read and either need to do a re-read or try to find a quick summary online to refresh my memory. I’ve never been one to binge read series, I always feel bored after two books, but I think I am going to give that another try. It has been years since I tried binge reading a series and I am, thankfully, not the same reader I was back then.

Keep your eyes peeled this week, I have lots of new content planned including my Top 5 Best Books of 2021 and Top 5 Worst Books of 2021. The worst list is going to be a challenge to whittle down, I read a lot of crappy books last year. I hope you all have a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Anything But Books Tag!

Hello Readers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Tome Topple Round 15: Check In!

Hello Readers!

It’s hard to believe that we are officially over halfway done with Round 15 of Tome Topple! This last week has been full of book talk, reading sprints and lots of pages (but maybe not as many as I was hoping). A friend of mine got married this past weekend, so I was busy traveling and celebrating (with a little reading thrown in on my flights)!

I’m currently making my way through Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. I’m about 50% done with my first tome (I was hoping to be done with it by now). I’m hoping to knock this book out before Friday so I can spend a chunk of next weekend reading Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff.

Don’t forget to keep track of all the books you’ve read using the convenient bingo card! Are you hoping to hit Student, Sage or Scholar status this round? Leave me a comment with your TBR and the status you’re looking to hit!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

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

Tome Topple Round 14 Announcement!

Well, the cat is officially out of the bag – Tome Topple Round 14 begins in a couple short weeks (March 15-28). For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tome Topple, the premise is simple: Read those chunky, 500+ page books! Tome Topple was created by Sam over at Thoughts On Tomes (her content is excellent and you should absolutely check her out, if you haven’t already)! Back in 2019, I started researching read-a-thons and Tome Topple frequently popped up. I’ve always tended to stray away from really long books (partially because I feel like I never “make progress” and partially because I feel like some books are unnecessarily long / start to get boring). I wasn’t sure if this would really enjoy it or not and decided to just watch Tome Topple from a distance. Note to past self: You’re an idiot sandwich. It was a book-related event, of course you would enjoy it!

A live look at me “watching Tome Topple from a distance” in 2019

When the pandemic set in last year, I decided I might as well commit to a round of Tome Topple. I joined for Round 11 and had an absolutely blast BUT… it was an EPIC failure. I didn’t even get through a whole book in that 2 weeks! After that, I worked out a strategy of how I needed to approach the read-a-thon. I came back for Round 12 and did much, much better – I selected a book I was excited about and plowed right through it! In Round 13, I reached out to Sam and joined Tome Topple as a co-host! This co-host experience was absolutely a highlight of 2020 (which was a tough year for all of us). All of the co-hosts are kick ass people and really work hard to make this read-a-thon fun and enjoyable for everyone! Round 14 is coming up and I’m happy to say I’m back to co-host again! Before I get into the reading challenges for this round, I’d like to introduce my other fellow co-hosts! This is such a friendly, dedicated and awesome group of people!

The infamous “Non-Bingo” board is back to help everyone keep track of their reading challenges. As a reminder, there is no “bingo,” this is just a convenient way to track all of the reading prompts!

Round 14’s reading prompts are as follows:

  • The tome that has been on your TBR the longest
  • A tome audiobook
  • Tome with the most pages
  • Seasonal colored tome (for spring or autumn)
  • Read 1 tome
  • A tome written by a BIPOC author
  • Tome from a genre you don’t usually read
  • Tome in a series you haven’t read for a while
  • A tome you started during another round of Tome Topple

The last order of business, my TBR for Round 14! My main objective is to start and finish Queen of Air & Darkness by Cassandra Clare. This is the third and final installment in The Dark Artifices trilogy. Without a doubt, The Dark Artifices has been my favorite series by Cassandra Clare to date. From the first chapter of Lady Midnight, I was hooked! These are all pretty lengthy novels but they don’t feel long which proves just how addicting they are! I haven’t start The Lost Hours series yet but I’ve heard really positive things about this books as well (and feel like they have potential to take over the title of favorite Shadowhunter series)! If I’m able to knock out Queen of Air & Darkness, I’ll consider this round a win! If I have time to start another book, I’ll probably pick either Winter by Marissa Meyer or Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.

Are you planning to participate in Tome Topple? What’s your upcoming TBR look like? Need help selecting what to read? Leave me a comment – I love to chat about books! Definitely make sure you’re subscribed to my blog and following @Tome_Topple / @ItsMrGeekToYou on Twitter for all your read-a-thon updates!

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