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

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

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