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

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

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

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

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

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 We Meet Again,
Mr Geek