September ’20 Wrap Up

The last thing I remember is writing my September 20′ TBR post, I blinked and now the month is over! Generally speaking, September was extremely enjoyable. My pumpkin addiction is off to a strong start, I spent most of my time reading with a Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew in one hand and a book in the other (not a sponsored post, but… Hey Starbucks, if you’re looking for a book influencer partnership, hit me up). The temperate has dropped these last couple of weeks and for the first time in ages, we’re having some Fall temperatures in Pittsburgh. As my golf season began to wind down, my reading season ramped up. I read a lot of great books this month and stuck, mostly, to the TBR I set for myself! Let’s jump into my reads!

I kicked off the month with my ARC of Wendy Walker’s new book, DON’T LOOK FOR ME. This was a fantastic thriller that I absolutely tore through. The premise was very interesting and engaging. As I started to get closer and closer to the end, I had to know what was going to happen (and ended up reading 200+ pages on a Sunday afternoon so I could finish it). Take a look at my full review here. While I was reading DON’T LOOK FOR ME, I also was listening to the audiobook of Bossypants by Tina Fey. I am a HUGE Tina Fey fan but was quite disappointed in her book when I first read it nearly a decade ago (it hurts saying that). A friend from work recently recommended the audiobook so I thought I’d give it another go and I’m really glad that I did! Fey narrated the audiobook and it really added to the overall story. Her tales felt more personal and it was so much easier to connect with her.

After that first set of books, I moved onto The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson. I read Truly Devious last year and thought it was an ok book. My biggest gripe was that it felt like a really, really long book that was broken into 3 parts. By the end of book 1, I had more questions than answers and felt extremely satisfied. I really enjoyed The Vanishing Stair much more than Truly Devious. The plot felt like it started to come together better and I started seeing the end in sight. I’m planning on picking up The Hand On The Wall sometime soon so I can polish off this series by the end of the year. After The Vanishing Stair, I detoured from my TBR to read The Girl Who Drank The Moon. Regan, from PeruseProject on YouTube, read this book earlier in the year and completely raved about it. I was able to get this book for a steal on Amazon and decided to pick it up and read it immediately (very unlike me). This was a middle grade book but I thought the story was well done and very engaging. The characters were likable and I was a little surprised by the twist towards the end!

As the end of the month was approaching, I decided to dive into the audiobook of Camino Winds by John Grisham and the eBook of The Last Flight by Julie Clark. Last year, I read Camino Island. It was my first Grisham novel and it was… fine. I wasn’t overly impressed. The story was interesting and kept me engaged but the end definitely had my scratching my head saying “That’s it?!” Going into Camino Winds, I expected to a get a little resolution that I was lacking from Camino Island. I was extremely disappointed. This book revisits some of the characters from the previous entry but overall it was its own story. It really could be considered a stand alone novel. There was hardly any overlap in story and the few nods to book 1 weren’t critical information. It was an entertaining and engaging read but overall, I wasn’t really impressed. I’m not quite finished with The Last Flight at the time of writing this post (~60% done) but I am thoroughly enjoying it! I was itching for an addictive thriller and this is definitely hitting the spot. This book is also told using dual timelines, which I LOVE. The perspective shifts each chapter between present day and roughly 6 months ago. I’m hoping to finish this up by Friday so I can dive into my “Spooky” TBR over the weekend.

What did you read in September? Anything good? Anything terrible? Sound off in the comments with TBR recommendations or books I should steer clear of! As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter and add me on GoodReads (@ItsMrGeekToYou on both sites)!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

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

September 2020 TBR

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Tome Topple Round 12

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s that time again! Tome Topple has announced a new round starting this Saturday (8/8), running until Friday, August 21st. If you aren’t familiar with Tome Topple, the premise is simple: Read tomes! A “tome,” for the purposes of this read-a-thon, is is any book over 500 pages.

Similar to Round 11, the “bingo card” format is making a return to help participants track their completed reading prompts. While some of my books align with the prompts, I’m not going to force myself into it this round. I think by reading what I want to read, I’m going to have more success! While I don’t have an exact TBR, I have several books queued up and I’m going to read whatever fits my mood!

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

  • I have been looking forward to starting the Dark Artifices trilogy for quite some time (unfortunately, I had quite a few books to read to get to this point). I officially caught up and am able to start reading Lady Midnight! I am absolutely kicking off Tome Topple with this book. I’m excited to return this world and have heard phenomenal things about this book and series! Reading Prompts: Tome with the most Pages; Read 1 Tome

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

  • I’ve seen a ton of Mariary’s books but never picked one up. A few years ago, HBO announced that they were turning Big Little Lies into a 1 season, mini-series. I had no intentions of watching the show but for some reason ended up catching a couple episodes and was hooked! The TV show had an incredible cast and storyline was so wild you couldn’t wait to see what happened next! Definitely not my typical TV show (or book) but I’m looking forward to digging into this one. Reading Prompts: Tome from a genre you don’t typical read; Standalone tome

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

  • The first book I read this year was Scythe and I absolutely loved it! Shortly after I finished that, I moved onto Thunderhead which was also a stellar entry in the series. The Toll is the third and final book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy. I am anxious to see how this all ends but I’m also not ready for the conclusion. Based on the Shusterman books that I’ve read, I have high expectations for this finale (and I have a feeling it’s going to deliver). Reading Prompts: A tome by a Black author; Most recent tome

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

  • I read Strange the Dreamer last year and did a quick reread (listen) during the last round of Tome Topple as a refresher. I already know this is going to be an incredible read and I’m ready to have my emotions thrown into a blender. Taylor doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to writing a heart-wrenching story. I’m looking forward to revisiting these characters and them getting, hopefully, some semblance of a happy ending! Reading Prompt: Tome audiobook (partially); Tome started during a past round

Twilight by Stephanie Meyers

  • I am not afraid to rag on Twilight. I’ve never read these books before because I thought the premise was silly and it wasn’t something I would enjoy. I’ve contemplated reading these for the last several years (to put facts behind my opinions) but have always decided against it. I think I am going to attempt to read the first book in this series and write a funny, honest (sort of parody) review for the book afterwords. If nothing else, I think it will make good blog material! Not sure if this will make it into my Tome Topple TBR but be on the look out for a funny review coming soon!

Well, that’s my alleged TBR for this round of Tome Topple. Like the previous round, I’ll be doing a check-in (or two) and a wrap up after the read-a-thon has concluded. Be sure to stop back and follow my reading journey! Are you participating in this round of Tome Topple? What’s on your TBR? Share your books in the comments!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek